Rex's Railroad Spike Teeth Were a Pulverizing Machine

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

Combined with an insanely high tooth pressure, the results explain how T. rex was able to pulverize the bones of other dinos to access their nutrients.

"That's like setting three small cars on top of the jaws of a T. rex-that's basically what was pushing down", NPR quotes researcher Gregory Erickson of Florida State University as saying.

"I'm surprised at the high tooth pressures they found for T. rex, because we usually consider the teeth to be blunt rather than super sharp", Snively continued.

It's no shocker that the Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur used its powerful jaws to shred its prey, but a study published Wednesday reveals more about the power of its bite.

The research was led by Erickson and Paul Gignac, an assistant professor of anatomy and vertebrate paleontology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. "It's not much different than when we bite down on a drumstick", Gignac said, "though we go for flesh, not bone".

Along with the vast bite, the massive dinosaur's long, conical teeth were able to generate an astonishing 431,000 pounds of pressure per square inch of bone.

In both cases, however, one thing is clear - the T. rex had a bite force that was stronger than any land animal in history. Similar to these animals, T. rex gnawed repeatedly; one Triceratops pelvis, which Erickson studied in 1996, had been chewed about 80 times.

To figure out the bite force of a long-extinct T. rex, the team created a digital T. rex jaw based off muscle features found on close modern-day relatives to dinosaurs, like birds and crocodilians.

The teeth of Tyrannosaurus rex have been called "killer bananas", and a new study in the journal Scientific Reports shows just how hard those fearsome chompers could clamp down. "They carefully reconstructed many muscles and accounted for important aspects of muscle architecture and physiology". The finding helps provide more evidence to the idea that the T. rex shattered bones and swallowed the fragments for sustenance.

"Through incredible, almost 8,000-pound bite forces and record-breaking, 431,000 pounds per square inch tooth pressures, T. rex regularly scored, deeply punctured, and even sliced through bones", said Paul Gignac, the study's co-author. Nevertheless, North American tyrannosaurids, including the giant (13metres [m]) theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex stand out for habitually biting deeply into bones, pulverizing anddigesting them.

How exactly the T. rex could break bones was unclear.

This model allowed them to estimate the bite force at any tooth position along the jaw, as well as across the known adult size range for the tyrannosaur group, Gignac said.

With their model, Gignac and Erickson calculated that a T. rex could bite with about 3,628 kilograms of force, fairly conservative in the realm of Tyrannosaur estimates.

T. rex probably held whole limbs in its mouth as it gnawed.

What's more, he says, teenage T. rexs put on an impressive five pounds of mass daily, so the animals certainly benefited from the ability to munch on the bones of prey.

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