Monday, March 19, 2012

Which animal has the most powerful bite?

Which animal has the most powerful bite? No, the answer isn't shark, though sharks would likely be the first choice on many people's lips.

The recent study conducted by Florida State biology professor Greg Erickson and his colleagues showed that Australian saltwater crocodile has the most powerful bite of all animals in our planet.

In numbers, the strength of Australia crocodile's bite has a force value of 3,700 pounds for a 17-foot saltwater crocodile (as well as tooth pressures of 350,000 pounds per square inch). That's the highest bite force ever recorded, convincingly beating a 2,980-pound value for a 13-foot wild American alligator that used to hold the record.

How did researchers measured the bite power? The researchers used 83 adult alligators and crocodiles, strapped them down, placed a bite-force device between their back teeth and then used instruments to recorded the bite force. After that engineering calculation was then used to estimate the force generated simultaneously by the teeth nearest the front of the jaws.

Erickson described this experience: "I have to admit, the first time I placed our meter into the maw of an adult crocodile, I was nervous. It was all over in the blink of an eye. When it struck, it nearly wrested my grip from the handle. The noise of the jaws coming together was like a gunshot. The power of the animal was astounding, and the violence of the event frightening.

The power of this bite, regardless of how powerful it sounds and really is, is still weak compared to the largest extinct crocodile predecessors, gigantic 35- to 40-foot animals, that were able to bit at forces as high as 23,100 pounds. Luckily for us these guys have become extinct:)