Tyrannosaurus rex's powerful bite was delivered with nearly 8,000 pounds of force, more than two times greater than today's largest living crocodiles, say researchers using a computer model, and the legendary dinosaur's long teeth generated 431,000 pounds per square inch of pressure.
T. rex pulverized bones similar to how wolves and hyenas are able to do today, said a study by research teams from Florida State and Oklahoma State universities published this week in the journal Scientific Reports.
T. rex could chew up large bones to get to the marrow within, thanks to the right combination of biting power plus blunt teeth that were serrated like steak knives, study author Gregory Erickson told National Public Radio.
"It basically could slice through just about anything in its realm," said Erickson, a biological science professor at Florida State.
T. rex's menu included everything from duck-billed dinosaurs to triceratops. Its teeth allowed it to crack into bones from fresh kills or scavenged corpses, a food source that other predators couldn't access.
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.
They constructed a computer model of the T. rex jaw in an effort to find out how the dinosaurs crushed bones into fragments. They created their model on measurements of living dinosaur relatives, such as birds, crocodiles, and alligators, noted the Washington Post.
"Our model is the first one to look at the musculature of archosaurs," said Erickson.
Gignac said T. rex's powerful chompers allowed it to hold whole limbs in its mouth while the dinosaur gnawed.
"It's not much different than when we bite down on a drumstick, though we go for flesh, not bone," Gignac told the Post.
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