March 17, 2009

New Fossil Makes T-Rex Look Weak

According to scientists, a giant sea monster fossil found in the Arctic could pack a bite that would make T-Rex look pathetic.

This Jurassic era marine reptile, dubbed "Predator X," would have been nearly 50 ft long and would have had a bite force of 33,000 lbs per square inch according to the Natural History Museum of Oslo University.

"With a skull that's more than 10 feet long you'd expect the bite to be powerful but this is off the scale," said Joern Hurum, professor of vertebrate paleontology at the museum who led the international excavation on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard in 2008.

"It's much more powerful than T-Rex," he said of the top marine predator.

Tyrannosaurus Rex is considered the top land carnivore among dinosaurs.

To figure the biting force of "Predator X" researchers compared the predator's head and estimated the force by comparing it with similar alligators found in a park in Florida.

"The calculation is one of the largest bite forces ever calculated for any creature," the Museum told Reuters News. 

Researchers found that the predator's bite was more than 10 times more powerful than modern animals and was four times greater that the T-Rex.

Scientists reconstructed the pliosaur, a new species, with a partial skull, and 20,000 fragments of skeleton.  They believe the creature had teeth over a foot long, and would have weighed nearly 45 tons.

This newest fossil is similar to another pliosaur found on Svalbard in 2007, only larger.

"It's not complete enough to say it's really bigger than 15 meters," Hurum said.

Previously Hurum believed the pliosaur was large enough to crush a small car with its bite.

"This one is more like it could crush a Hummer," he said referring to the latest calculations.

According to scans performed by Patrick Druckenmiller of the University of Alaska, the pliosaur likely had a small thin brain similar to that of the great white shark.

Pliosaurs fed upon fish, squid-like animals, and other marine reptiles. It also had four large flippers to propel itself through the water.


Image Caption:  Pliosaur crushing down on Plesiosaur with 33,000lb bite force (Ill.: Atlantic Productions)


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