Scientists at Florida State University have revealed that the bite force of Tyrannosaurus rex measured 8000 pounds, which is more than twice the bite force of largest living crocodiles. Further, their long, conical teeth generated pressures at their tip of around 431,000 pounds per square inch, and this allowed “T. rex to drive open cracks in bone during repetitive, mammal-like biting and produce high-pressure fracture arcades, leading to a catastrophic explosion of some bones,” the study notes.
To understand more about T Rex’s chomping potential, researchers modelled how the muscles of crocodile, its closest living relative, contribute to bite forces. They then compared their findings with birds, which are modern-day dinosaurs and generated a computer model of a T. rex. Moreover, to understand how the giant dinosaur pulverized and ingested the biggest of bones, absorbing marrow and minerals, researchers calculated how force were transmitted through the teeth – a measurement they called tooth pressure – from the model.
Present day well-known bone crunchers like spotted hyenas and gray wolves have occluding teeth to slice through bones. T-Rex used the same technique these animals use to gnaw repeatedly. One Triceratops pelvis, which Erickson studied in 1996, had been chewed about 80 times. However, T. rex also used its teeth like a hammer to fracture bone, according to the Washington Post. Interestingly, the limit to their bite force was probably not muscular, but its teeth ability to withstand such intense stress, the Telegraph notes. Researchers say T-Rex are unique among reptiles for achieving this mammal-like ability despite having specialized, occluding dentition.
Reference: The Biomechanics Behind Extreme Osteophagy in Tyrannosaurus rex. Scientific Reports, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-02161-w