In a new study, scientists sought to know more about the power and function of the Tyrannosaurus Rex's jaw.
A terrifying predator
Standing 6 meters tall, with a gigantic jaw and razor-sharp teeth, the Tyrannosaurus Rexis undeniably one of the most terrifying predators of its time. The 'King of the Dinosaurs,' whodominated towards the end of the Cretaceous, was the subject of a thorough study regarding the power of its jaw, which is used to chow down on the massive prey it hunted.
The secret of its power: stability
Nowadays, scientists agree that dinosaurswere more likely to have descended from birds than from reptiles. But the T-Rex's skull is an interesting exception: its rigidity is closer to that of crocodiles or hyenas, which gives it the ability to exert considerable pressure on its prey with every bite.
To arrive at this comparison, palaeontologists studied the T-Rex's mobility, hypothesising that its disproportionately large skull greatly influenced its posture and its hunting techniques. Part of the research team initially believed that the skull had flexible joints, offering the animal more mobility to hunt. They modelled how parrots' and geckos' skulls worked, then applied those movements to a T-Rex skull to look for potential similarities.
The study revealed that the T-Rex's skull wasn't really designed to give the dinosaur more mobility. On the contrary, its rigidity is close to that of a crocodile's. However, this allows for more stability when biting and gives the predator more power. But the comparison stops there, because while the power of a crocodile's jaw can reach an estimated 16,460 newtons, a T-Rex jaw's power is four times greater, reaching up to 64,000 newtons.
It was 'crunching' life to the fullest
So far, we've only talked about the T-Rex's jaws, but its long, sharp teeth are also a part of the equation. Indeed, its teeth create pressure points that increase its ability to penetrate through and crush things, so the researchers could easily imagine the animal shredding entire vehicles, like in the movieJurassic Park.
With a mouth like that, the T-Rex could chew pretty much anything edible it could find. The discovery of crushed bones in fossilised dung has allowed researchers to confirm that the animal could probably effortlessly slice its prey into pieces.