According to CSMonitor, A study as England’s University of Bristol used digital imaging and computer analyses to conclude that the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s bite is even more monstrous than it was once thought. Researchers concluded that the dinosaur was able to open it’s mouth wider than a right angle, between 79 and 92 degrees.
Published Wednesday in the Royal Society Open Science, examined three species of dinosaur, the Allosaurus fragilis, the T. rex, and the vegetarian Erlikosaurus andrewsi. The three species each fall into the category of two-legged dinosaurs called theropauds.
As a result of the study, which measured the dinosaur’s bite mechanism, will allow future researchers to understand and establish niche adaptations for each species. This will let scientists more accurately theorize about the hunting behaviors and eating havits of the dinosaurs.
The most ferocious dino, the huge-headed, short-armed, carnivorous Allosaurus was the winner of widest jaw angle.
Its maximum jaw gape proved larger then the T. rex, the bigger carnivore. The study points out the the T. rex roamed North America around 66 million years ago. The T. rex’s jaw gape measurement clocked in at between 63.5 degrees and 80 degrees. The T. rex’s maximum jaw gape was no slouch, but it pales in comparison to the Allosaurus.
“Swift ambush predators such as Allosaurus had the largest jaw gape among the studied dinosaur species, which is consistent with the requirement for a predator hunting larger prey,” said Bristol paleontologist Stephan Lautenschlager in an interview with Reuters.
“Tyrannosaurus, in comparison, was able to exert continuous muscle force during different gape angles, which would be necessary for an animal biting through thick flesh and crushing bones.”
The herbivore featured in the study, the Erlikosaurus, has a much more slight maximum jaw gape angle, measuring between 43.5 and 49 degrees. This dino could grow up to 20 feet long and roamed Central Asia around 90 million years ago.
While their bite gapes were fearsome, Dr. Lautenschlager contends that the Allosaurus and T. rex would use their maximum capabilities sparingly and “probably only in cases when large prey had to be captured. Typically, their jaw gapes tended to top out at the “optimal” length of 28 degrees.