Tyrannosaurus Rex Bite Could 'Pulverize' Bones

Tyrannosaurus rex jaws generated 8,000-pound bite forces and let the creature eat everything from duck-billed dinosaurs to triceratops

Tyrannosaurus rex jaws generated 8,000-pound bite forces and let the creature eat everything from duck-billed dinosaurs to triceratops

If the pooch instead had a crocodile's snout and gap teeth, crunching bones would be out of the question.

Maybe you've seen the film "Jurassic Park", and you remember that scene where the Tyrannosaurus rex escapes its pen and attacks guests at the theme park.

Yet it was far from your average dinosaur. Subsequently, the researchers also compared the test results with birds, which are said to be the modern day version of dinosaurs. Therrien, a curator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada, pointed to the mash-up of wimpy arms, massive jaws and teeth like "killer bananas".

The king of dinosaurs - which weighed about seven tons, grew 20 feet tall, and was 43 feet long - had the most powerful bite of any creature studied, say the authors.

In a study newly published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers report that T. rex was capable of biting down with nearly 8,000 pounds of force, with parts of certain teeth delivering a shocking 431,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. According to Erickson, each tooth would exert a pressure of about 431,000 pounds per square inch.

The T. rex was definitely closer to a Ferrari than a dump truck, as it "regularly scored, deeply punctured, and even sliced through bones" using its "incredible, almost 8,000-pound bite forces and record-breaking, 431,000 pounds per square inch tooth pressures", Gignac told Live Science.

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"One thing I noticed [early on in my career] is that T.rex was pulverizing bone", Erickson told Gizmodo, recalling a giant triceratops pelvis that "looked like it had been chewed up by some sort of monster-some sort of giant dog". Bones, particularly the yolk-like marrow inside, are rich in nutrients. Their teeth aren't created to.

The study, by Gregory Erickson, professor of biological science at Florida State University, and Paul Gignac, assistant professor of anatomy and vertebrate paleontology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, was published in Scientific Reports. You might remember those imposing teeth.

Mammalian crunchers such as wolves or hyenas slice their way through bones with specialized molars like hacksaws. But they saw that the biting force of the T. rex had not been determined with enough accuracy. The researchers believe those could have had bite forces up around 18,000 pounds, over twice as high as what T. rex could do. Using the data, they generated a model for T. rex.

The researchers built on their extensive experience testing and modeling how the musculature of living crocodilians, which are close relatives of dinosaurs, contribute to bite forces. In 1996, he and his colleagues reported that the puncture wounds had come from a T. rex. One study in 2012 said the beast had bitten down with about 12,800 pounds of force, while older studies put that estimate at more than 50,000 pounds. It was a "great approach", he said, "and the values are probably reasonable".

Popular Science explains the two numbers: Bite force (the 8,000-pound figure) refers to the force exerted by the jaw, but that's only half the story. So that's like setting basically three small cars on top of the jaws of a T. rex.

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