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T. Rex Could Open Its Jaws At A Horrifying 90-Degree Angle

Update Date: Nov 06, 2015 10:46 AM EST

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is the dinosaur that everyone fears---and never mind that it was extinct long ago.

New research shows that it opened its jaws at a horrifying 90-degree angle, which gives you some idea about how much it could eat then, according to HNGN.

With digital models and a computer analysis, researchers examined the muscle strain when the jaws of three different theropod dinosaurs that exhibited a number of dietary habits opened, the University of Bristol said.

"Theropod dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus rex or Allosaurus, are often depicted with widely-opened jaws, presumably to emphasise their carnivorous nature. Yet, up to now, no studies have actually focused on the relation between jaw musculature, feeding style and the maximal possible jaw gape," said Stephan Lautenschlager from Bristol's School of Earth Sciences.

There were three animals included in the study---"the carnivorous T. rex, the smaller but also carnivorous Allosaurus fragilis, and the plant-eating Erlikosaurus andrewsi".

"All muscles, including those used for closing and opening the jaw, can only stretch a certain amount before they tear. This considerably limits how wide an animal can open its jaws and therefore how and on what it can feed," Lautenschlager said.

Now there were two members that opened their jaws at right angles---Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus. On the other hand, the herbivorous Erlikosaurus opened their jaws only at 45 degrees. Computer simulations exhibited that T. rex managed to bite at many angles, each bite well-positioned for ripping apart flesh and bones.

"We know from living animals that carnivores are usually capable of larger jaw gapes than herbivores, and it is interesting to see that this also appears to be the case in theropod dinosaurs," Lautenschlager concluded.

The findings were published in a recent edition of the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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