Putting Teeth in T. Rex

November/December 1996

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Putting Teeth in T. Rex

Scott Matthews

With a nickname like "thunder lizard" you'd think the Tyrannosaurus Rex wouldn't have much to prove. But for decades skeptical paleontologists have scoffed that the 10,000-pound dinosaur's fragile teeth, small eyes and short arms made it an unlikely predator. They dismissed it as a lowly carrion scavenger.

Now the gnawing doubts may disappear. Stanford engineering Professor Dennis Carter and two grad students (working with a PhD candidate at UC-Berkeley)tested bronze and aluminum T. rex dentures using a machine that chomped on a cow bone. The result: The thunder lizard's bite was estimated at between 1,440 and 3,011 pounds--greater than any known creature and enough to put a death grip on most plant eaters. That's something to chew on.

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