According to a recent study, the T. rex was capable of practically pulverizing the bones of its prey with at least 7,800 pounds of force. Its teeth allowed it to crack into bones from fresh kills or scavenged corpses, a food source that other predators couldn't access. With these powerful jaws, a T. rex could demolish bones with forces equaling the weight of three small cars.
Bone crushing-extreme osteophagy in the scientific parlance-is a trait exhibited by just a handful of mammalian scavengers and predators today, including the spotted hyena and the gray wolf. The bite of a T. rex was reimaged based on a saltwater crocodile's bite put to scale by taking into account the shape of the T. rex's skull and teeth.
"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", Paul Gignac, assistant professor of Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, said in a statement. "We didn't go in our study with any preconceived notions or expectations", Erickson tells Newsweek in an email interview.
"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", Gignac said.
T. Rex's grip, in other words, may be just what is needed to fracture bones.
He notes that the biggest living crocodiles now hold the world record for measured bite forces, which his team found were about 3,700 pounds. "[T-Rex's] tooth pressures, which are more important than bite forces with regard to feeding capacities are however the highest estimated (to date) for any animal".
Dr Erickson became curious with figuring out the bite force of the T. rex as a graduate student in the mid-1990s when a colleague showed him a fossilised triceratops pelvis riddled with about 80 bite marks. But a new study shows that the King may still deserve its crown, thanks to a terrifying set of jaws that could deliver one of the strongest bites of any land animal in history.
Tooth pressure is determined by how the shape of the teeth focuses the pressure into a smaller point, and the T-rex's long, cone-shaped chompers were ideal for piercing flesh and shattering bone. However, most of the past studies were theoretical constructs.
The scientists were, however, surprised by the results because they had expected the overall bite force estimate to be higher. T. Rex, which was about 13 meters long and weighed about seven tons, had the ability to pulverize and eat bones.
T-Rex probably cracked the bones of its prey open as easily as you might crack open the bones of a chicken - and it did it for much the same reason you might.
T. rex probably held whole limbs in its mouth as it gnawed.