No bone could resist T. Rex's pulverizing bite

Geronimo Vena
Mag 19, 2017

Due to their tooth structure, as well as bite marks found on Triceratops bones, the researchers suggest that the T-rex ate with a biting and chewing pattern, in the style of modern mammals like hyenas and wolves. And this ability could also have allowed the giant animal to break any bones with the force of three small cars, revealed the study.

"T. rex could pretty much bite through whatever it wanted, as long as it was made of flesh and bone", said Florida State University paleobiologist Gregory Erickson.

"The Biomechanics Behind Extreme Osteophagy in Tyrannosaurus rex" - written by Gregory Erickson. a Florida State University professor of biological science, and Paul Gignac, an Oklahoma State University assistant professor of anatomy and vertebrate paleontology - explains that T-Rex could pulverize bones.

Even more impressive, the dinosaur's tooth pressure - a new metric devised by the researchers - was even greater: an astounding 30 tonnes per square centimeter (431,000 pounds per square inch) of dental surface. Once the models were complete, they observed how the T. rex would have bitten down on prey, discovering just how insanely powerful the animal's jaws really were.

Paleontologists have always speculated that the bite force of the Tyrannosaurus Rex exceeded by far that of other predators, its teeth being jokingly dubbed "killer bananas". "We didn't go in our study with any preconceived notions or expectations", Erickson tells Newsweek in an email interview. She also is a published poet.

They constructed a computer model of the T. rex jaw in an effort to find out how the dinosaurs crushed bones into fragments.

They found that this prehistoric reptile could chow down with almost 8,000 pounds of force, which is more than two times greater than the bite force of the largest living crocodiles. Together, high bite force and bone pressure allowed T.rex to drill into bones through repeated gnashing, eventually causing them to shatter or explode.

As T-Rex was also capable of consuming bone, it must have had additional strength in its nine-inch razor sharp teeth. By comparison, the human bites are only about 200 pounds. The ability to pulverize and eat bones gave T. rex, which was about 43 feet (13 meters) long and weighed about seven tons, an advantage over competing predators that could not.

To figure that out, the researchers generated a model of the T. rex bite relying on the fossil records and their data from analyzing crocodilian bites and using elements of crocodilian and bird (modern dinosaur) physiology. That's thanks to the right combination of biting power plus blunt teeth that were serrated like steak knives, says Erickson.

It's not the first time scientists have attempted to measure T.rex's bite force, and some previous estimates have been even higher.

Crocodiles and T. Rex "are probably operating at tooth pressures that are nearing the extreme structural limits of what reptilian tooth enamel can handle", Gignac said. He says, over the years, there have been lots of attempts to estimate the bite force of T. rex, and different numbers have been thrown out there.

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