Questions for “The secret to T. rex‘s incredible biting force is at last revealed”

head of T. rex fossil

The jaws of a T. rex, such as this one displayed at the Natural History Museum of Leiden, could generate bone-crushing forces. A particular bone near the rear of its lower jaw makes that possible.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Plus

To accompany “The secret to T. rex‘s incredible biting force is at last revealed


Before Reading:

1.  What are the first three things that come to mind when you think about a Tyrannosaurus rex?

2.  If you could work with a scientist who studies this dinosaur, what two things would you most like to learn? Why?

During Reading:

1.  What aspect of a T. rex’s lower jaw gave it such a forceful bite, according to the new study?

2.  What is an IMJ and where is it? What animals have one?

3.  What is the now-estimated bite force of a T. rex? What did scientists use to figure that out?

4.  How did a computer model and the idea of ligaments help scientists analyze the strength of a T. rex’s bite?

5.  Why does a more flexible jaw diminish the power of a T. rex’s bite, according to scientists quoted in the story?

6.  How did the teeth of early theropods and T. rex differ?

After Reading:

1.  Why did John Fortner’s team use a computer model for its analyses? What could they learn from it that they couldn’t learn from just studying the fossils visually or with physical tools?

2.  Sometimes engineers design new products or systems off of ideas they get from Mother Nature. How might engineers use what they learned about the T. rex jaw to build something new? What kind of product or system might use that jaw as an inspiration for one of its features?