From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published March 1, 2012 04:04 PM

T Rex Big Bite

Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to the large and powerful hindlimbs, Tyrannosaurus forelimbs were small, though unusually powerful for their size, and bore two clawed digits. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus rex in size, it was the largest known tyrannosaurid and one of the largest known land predators, measuring up to 42 feet in length, up to 13 feet tall at the hips, and up to 7.5 short tons) in weight. By far the largest carnivore in its environment, Tyrannosaurus rex may have been an apex predator, preying upon hadrosaurs and ceratopsians, although some experts have suggested it was primarily a scavenger. Research at the University of Liverpool, using computer models to reconstruct the jaw muscle of Tyrannosaurus rex, has suggested that the dinosaur had the most powerful bite of any living or extinct terrestrial animal. The team artificially scaled up the skulls of a human, alligator, a juvenile T. rex, and Allosaurus to the size of an adult T. rex. In each case the bite forces increased as expected, but they did not increase to the level of the adult T. rex, suggesting that it had the most powerful bite of any terrestrial animal.

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Previous studies have estimated that T. rex’s bite had a force of 8,000 to 13,400 Newtons, but given the size of the animal, thought to weigh more than 6,000 kg, researchers suspected that its bite may have been more powerful than this. Liverpool scientists developed a computer model to reverse engineer the animal’s bite, a method that has previously been used to predict dinosaur running speeds.

An animal’s bite force is largely determined by the size of the jaw muscles. Using their computer models, researchers tested a range of alternative muscle values, as it is not precisely known what the muscles of dinosaurs were like. Even with error margins factored in, the computer model still showed that the T. rex had a more powerful bite than previously suggested.

The smallest values predicted were around 20,000 Newtons, while the largest values were as high as 57,000 Newtons, which would be equivalent to the force of a medium sized elephant sitting down on the ground.

Researchers also found that the results for the juvenile T. rex had a relatively the weaker bite than the adult T.rex, even when size differences and uncertainties about muscle size were taken into account. The large difference between the two measurements, despite the error margins factored in, may suggest that T.rex underwent a change in feeding behaviour as it grew.

Dr Karl Bates, from the University’s Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, said: "The power of the T.rex jaw has been a much debated topic over the years. Scientists only have the skeleton to work with, as muscle does not survive with the fossil, so we often have to rely on statistical analysis or qualitative comparisons to living animals, which differ greatly in size and shape from the giant enigmatic dinosaurs like T.rex. As these methods are somewhat indirect, it can be difficult to get an objective insight into how dinosaurs might have functioned and what they may or may not have been capable of in life."

"Our results show that the T.rex had an extremely powerful bite, making it one of the most dangerous predators to have roamed our planet. Its unique musculoskeletal system will continue to fascinate scientists for years to come."

To put this a bit in perspective, there is no official list of biggest bites for comparison. Sharks with sharper teeth have tested higher on the bite-strength scale. Some have estimated that force to be 9,300 Newtons at the front of its jaws, and a killer 18,200 at the back which is similar to our T rex.

For further information: https://news.liv.ac.uk/2012/02/29/t-rex-has-most-powerful-bite-of-any-terrestrial-animal/

Photo:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Jane_TRex_Burpee.jpg

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