Would you rather get bitten by a Tyrannosaurus rex or sat on by an elephant? According to scientists, either would be equally unpleasant.
Previous estimates had put the force of a T. rex bite in the neighborhood of 8,000 to 13,000 Newtons, comparable to an alligator, reported BBC Nature. Turns out, that estimate was way off. A study published in February in the journal Biology Letters, puts a much higher number on that force.
Using a life size copy of a T. rex skeleton as a model, researchers created a 3-D model on the computer. They then mapped the muscles onto the skull and reproduced the bite by activating the muscles.
They discovered the maximum bite force of the T. rex was somewhere around 30,000 to 60,000 Newtons—a number Dr. Karl Bates told BBC Nature is about “the weight of a medium sized elephant sitting on you.”
Bates, of the University of Liverpool, led the research which shows the T. rex had the highest bite force of any terrestrial animal.
But not the highest bite force of any creature. According to National Geographic, the ancient megalodon shark had a bite force more than three times that of the T. rex. Bates agreed, telling NatGeo that its bite force—“just because it was so much larger-bodied—would have been bigger.”
According to National Geographic, the megalodon—or “megatooth”—shark may have grown to more than 50 feet and weighed up to 30 times more than the largest great white shark.
See a video of Bates describe the modeling process used for the T. rex at bbc.co.uk.