Using computer modelling, researchers reveal the bite strength of the Stegosaurus. Stegosaurus was a large plant-eating dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic Period.
The bite strength of the stegosaurus dinosaur was previously underestimated by scientists. New research reveals that the stegosaurus has a stronger bite than initially suspected which enabled it to eat wider range of plants than other dinosaurs with similar skull shape.
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Stegosaurus was a large, heavily built plant-eating dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period between 150 and 155 million years ago.To estimate the bite strength of dinosaur, researchers compared Stegosaurus specimen “Sophie” with two other species of plant-eating dinosaurs, Plateosaurus and Erlikosaurus.
Though, all three belonged to different locations and time periods, they shared remarkably similar skull characteristics which made scientists believe that all plant-eating dinosaurs probably had similar biting abilities. All three had large low snout, small feeble teeth and scissor like jaws that could be moved up and down. Using computer modelling, a combine team of researchers from Bristol, London, Manchester and University of Birmingham showed that these dinosaurs had strikingly different biting abilities. Having similar features does not necessarily mean similar strength produced while working.
“Far from being feeble, as usually thought, Stegosaurus actually had a bite force within the range of living herbivorous mammals, such as sheep and cows.” Professor Paul Barrett, researcher from Natural History Museum said.
Researchers used 3D scans of dinosaurs’ skull and lower jaw to model each dinosaur bite and analyzed their strength. They used actual data such as crocodile teeth to make those models closer to a real thing. By recreating muscles, researchers were able to estimate the forces the jaws could produce and the stress exerted on the skull as a result of the force.
“Using computer modelling techniques, we were able to reconstruct muscle and bite forces very accurately for the different dinosaurs in our study. As a result, these models give us new and detailed insights into dinosaur biology – something that would not have been possible several years ago.” Lead author Dr Stephen Lautenschlager from University of Bristol said.
Researchers believe that the findings are invaluable and add to their understanding of both dinosaur’s biology and ecology.
Barrett says. “Our key finding really surprised us: we expected that many of these dinosaur herbivores would have skulls that worked in broadly similar ways. Instead we found that even though the skulls were fairly similar to each other in overall shape, the way they worked during biting was substantially different in each case.”
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