TECH

T. Rex Had The Biting Force Of Three Small Cars

It was so powerful it could make bones 'explode'.

18/05/2017 14:25 BST

Tyrannosaurus Rex or T. rex had a record-beating bite that could quite literally cause bones to explode, say researchers.

To put that another way, and to make sure you’re truly scared, that’s the crushing force weight of three small cars. Put simply, T. rex’s mouth was designed to pulverise even the strongest bones.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images

In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers from Florida State University-Oklahoma State University the two teams explained how the dinosaur was able to clamp down with around 8,000 pounds of pressure.

That’s more than twice that of the largest crocodiles - our present bite force champions.

What made this terrifying beast so scary was that every single aspect of its jaw was designed for one single purpose.

Jeoffrey Maitem via Getty Images
Saltwater Crocodiles are Earth's current champions with a bite force of around 3,600 pounds.

Their long, conical teeth generated an astounding 431,000 pounds per square inch.

The result of this was that T. rex could drive open huge cracks in even the hardest bone structures, the result of which would be a high-pressure fractures causing some bones to literally explode.

What the researchers discovered was that it was this combination of both overall bite force with individual tooth pressure that made the T. rex so destructive.

“Having high bite force doesn’t necessarily mean an animal can puncture hide or pulverize bone, tooth pressure is the biomechanically more relevant parameter,” explained Florida State University Professor of Biological Science Gregory Erickson.

“It is like assuming a 600 horsepower engine guarantees speed. In a Ferrari, sure, but not for a dump truck.”

Modern day bone crushers include both the wolf and the hyena, however both are unlike T. rex in that they are of course mammals. It appears then as though the T. rex was unique in having this ability to crush bones and digest them.

“It was this bone-crunching acumen that helped T. rex to more fully exploit the carcasses of large horned-dinosaurs and duck-billed hadrosaurids whose bones, rich in mineral salts and marrow, were unavailable to smaller, less equipped carnivorous dinosaurs,” said assistant professor of Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Paul Gignac.