The tyrant lizard, also known asTyrannosaurus rex, had the strongest bite of any known land animal, new research suggests.
“Our results show that the T. rexhad an extremely powerful bite, making it one of the most dangerous predators to have roamed our planet,” study researcher Karl Bates, of the University of Liverpool, said in a statement.
Younger T. rexes didn’t have such strong bites, the researchers found, which probably meant they had a different diet and relied less on the fearsome bite than their older counterparts. This differing diets likely led reduced competition between generations of T. rex, the researchers said.
The new estimate of bite force is higher than past estimates that relied on indent measures in which they pressed down the skull and teeth onto a bone until they got the imprints that matched those on fossils. In the new study, the researchers created a computer model of the dinosaur’s jaw by first digitally scanning skulls from an adult and juvenile T. rex, an allosaurus, an alligator and an adult human. They used these scans to model each animal’s bite.
“We took what we knew about T. rex from its skeleton and built a computer model,” Bates said. “We then asked the computer model to produce a bite so that we could measure the speed and force of it directly.”
The force exerted at one of T. rex’s back teeth would have been between 7,868 and 12,814 pounds-force (35,000 and 57,000 newtons). This force would be akin to having a medium-size elephant sit on you.
Way to go, T. rex! As I posted yesterday on Tyrannosaurus for my Theropod Of The Day series, this is great (and more!) information for anyone interested in those big jaws of the ‘Tyrant Lizard King’. This is fantastic support towards the points I made in my post as well. With fused nasal bones, that’s helping the power of the bite impact and safety of the skull itself, plus rigged and curved teeth to help the support of tearing off meat or holding down struggling prey, and then the room for much muscle attachment to really give it a deadly blow! Hunter or scavenger? For me, I’ve always been on the hunter side (and scavenging when needed), so I’m excited to read the published report, and surely can’t wait to see what else we uncover from our extinct friends.