Friday, May 18, 2007

T.rex’s Secret ‘Superweapon’

A team of Alberta scientists has solved the mystery of the mightiest dinosaur's devastating bite: a "unique" evolutionary leap in snout construction -- a fused nasal bone -- that turned Tyrannosaurus rex into a "zoological superweapon."
From Canada’s Regina-Leader Post:

The find explains how the dinosaur could inflict its monstrous chomp -- the most powerful ever among land creatures -- on spiky Triceratops or other prey without breaking its own teeth, jaws or skull.

The researchers have also calculated that the force exerted by a munching tyrannosaur was about 200,000 Newtons -- enough to lift a fully loaded tractor trailer or hoist a pair of the 13-metre, 7.5-tonne reptiles, which disappeared with the rest of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.

"The tyrannosaur had small arms, and could not grab on to its prey," said University of Alberta biologist Eric Snively, whose study on the famously ferocious dinosaur's colossal crunch -- co-authored with physicist Donald Henderson of Alberta's Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and University of Calgary information technologist Doug Phillips. "So it couldn't afford to be that delicate. It had to bite into bone, and drive its teeth through bone."

Read the complete press release HERE.

After much threatening by the Palaeoblogger, Eric put together a press release on one of his recently published papers that we reported on HERE, and has now got some nice coverage for it.
Here’s a hint for all you soon-to-be/recently graduated Ph.D.’s—write some press releases and get some media coverage of your interesting and very cool work. This is ridiculously easy to do! Talk to your university or museum media relations people and tell them what you’re working on or have published—they are always interested in new stories that will promote your institution (and you). They’ll help you craft a press release and send it out to the wire services. Then sit back and wait for the Cadillacs full of money to roll up to your office door.