As it turns out, the T-Rex had a nasty and wide bite, yet not the biggest among the carnivores, falling on second place behind another species.
- Researchers compared three species, the Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus fragilis, and Erlikosaurus andrewsi
- The T. rex have a jaw opening between 63.5-80o angles
- The A. fragilis could open its mouth between 79-92o angles
- The E. andrewsi had a smaller jaw gape of between 43.5-49o angles
Researchers from the University of Bristol managed to draw an association between the dietary habits and feeding style of dinosaurs. This link is applicable to many modern-day animals. And now, it’s apparent that it was also available for the extinct species that once roamed the planet millions of year ago.
Lead researcher, Stephen Lautenschlager, and his team compared the jaw gape of three different theropods. Two were carnivores, the famous Tyrannosaurus rex (T-Rex) and the Allosaurus fragilis, and the herbivore Erlikosaurus andrewsi. By making computer simulations based on jaw musculature, they were able to ascertain their abilities during feeding.
For the carnivores, the findings were probably expected, but nonetheless astounding with their powerful abilities. For one, the T-Rex had an opening angle of its jaw that could stretch between 63.5-80o angles, though the most optimal angle was around 28o. This huge, nearly right opening made it perfect for hunting larger prey.
However, the terrifying sight of the T-Rex munching on huge dinosaurs was little compared to the Allosaurus. The carnivorous dinosaur that lurked around the Earth around 150 million years ago had even more impressive features. The Allosaurus could open its mouth to 79-92o angles. That’s wider than a right angle, which is likely the highest capacity a dinosaur ever displayed.
Although the optimal angle was also 28o, it showed exceptional capabilities present in the more lightly build theropod.
The herbivore, E. andrewsi, however, kept in line with the typical traits of plant-eating animals, and displayed a small jaw gape. The dinosaur that could reach lengths of 20 feet could open up its mouth to 43.5-49o angles. The optimal angle however was very small in comparison, at 20.5o.
This further backs what scientists already know, as estimations have carnivores with much wider jaw angles than herbivores. The bigger opening of their mouths allowed both the T-Rex and the Allosaurus to hunt down larger prey. This was particularly consistent for the latter.
However, in spite of the bigger and nearly horrific jaw gape of the Allosaurus, the T-Rex still won in ferocity. The Tyrannosaurus had the ability to produce and maintain strained muscle force within its jaw for multiple angles. This means that its bites were incredibly powerful, no matter how wide it opened its mouth.
With the use of its long, sharp, serrated teeth, and expansive jaw gape, the T-Rex had the muscles to back it up. It made it easier for the extinct predator to viciously bite through the thick skin and crush the very bones of its prey.
Image source: maxisciences.com