Take a bite outta this--no really, chomp down and notice those jaw muscles working. What youâre feeling is your bite force, which just means the force exerted when you bite down into something. And if youâve bitten down as hard as you can, well, thatâs probably a force of about 292 pounds.
Saltwater Crocodile Bites
Not bad, right? But chew on this fact: the saltwater crocodile has the most powerful bite ever recorded for a living animal, at a whopping 3,690 lbs.
Now, you might ask, is that the most powerful bite of any animal ever? Not even close. Coming in at almost 41,000 pounds the bite of the prehistoric shark the megalodon smashes the competition.
A Bite That Could Crush A Small Car
In fact, this megashark could smash a small car with that kind of bite. Donât worry about running into one of these creatures on your next beach vacation, though: the megalodon lived between 14 and 2.6 million years ago.
To find its bite force, scientists 3D modeled a white sharkâs bite, and then scaled that up to megalodon size. Whatâs Megalodon size? Thanks to the discovery of fossilized 7-inch-long teeth, we know that the largest of these sharks was about 60 feet long, almost four times as long as todayâs great whites, and weighed over 100 tons.
Such a big body made for a pretty big mouth--bigger than that small car it could crush--and filled with several rows of those large teeth. This allowed the megalodon to pursue some sizeable prey, including orcas and squid, or even large whales.
All told, the megalodon was certainly a fearsome predator. And thatâs something you can really sink your teeth into.
Thank you to Lisa Whitenack of Allegheny College for reviewing this episode's script.
Sources And Further Reading:
- Bierly, Mandi. "Letâs Fact-check The Meg." Vulture. 14 August 2018. Accessed November 12, 2018.
- Choi, Charles Q. "Ancient Shark's Bite More Powerful Than T. Rexâs." LiveScience. 4 August 2008. Accessed November 12, 2018.
- Davies, Ella. "One creature had a bite more powerful than any other." BBC. 18 August 2018. Accessed November 12, 2018.
- Gramling, Carolyn. "What âThe Megâ gets wrong -- and right -- about megalodon sharks." Science News. 10 August 2018. Accessed November 12, 2018.
- Schembri, Frankie. "Could the star of The Meg really bite a ship in half? We took a paleobiologist to the new movie to find out." Science, 9 August 2018. Accessed November 12, 2018.
- Yong, Ed. "Prehistoric great white shark had strongest bite in history." National Geographic, 5