Crocodiles may not win the 'sexiest on the planet' category on everyone's list, but they will be hard to beat when it comes to bite-force champions of the all times.
Crocodiles can kill with the strongest bite force measured for any living animal. Even their ancestors are keeping the imposing Tyrannosaurus rex mum - this according to researchers who found that the bite forces of the largest extinct crocodilians exceeded 10432kg, a force two-times greater than the famous dinosaur.
The researchers from the United States and Australia studied the bite force of all 23 living crocodilian species. Dr Gignac, Instructor of Research, Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and his colleagues from California as well as the Charles Darwin University in Australia roped 83 adult alligators and crocodiles and placed a force meter between their back teeth and recorded the bite force. They found that gators and crocs have pound-for-pound comparable maximal bite forces, despite different snouts and teeth. Contrary to previous evolutionary thinking, they determined that bite force was correlated with body size but showed surprisingly little correlation with tooth form, diet, jaw shape, or jaw strength.
Led by Project Director Gregory Erickson, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Science at Florida State University, the study took more than a decade to complete and required a diverse team of croc handlers and scientists. The study is reported online in PLos One.
Among living crocodilians, the bite-force champion is a 5,8 meter saltwater croc.
"This kind of bite is like being pinned beneath the entire roster of the New York Knicks," says Dr. Gignac, illustrating the tremendous force displayed by the living creatures. "But with bone-crushing teeth."
The research was funded by the National Geographic Society and the Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences.