A description of Deinonychus antirrhopus bite marks and estimates of bite force using tooth indentation simulations

Paul Gignac, Peter J. Makovicky, Gregory M. Erickson, Robert P. Walsh

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We report the discovery of a specimen of Tenontosaurus tilletti from the Cloverly Formation that bears lesions we interpret as bite marks of Deinonychus antirrhopus. Some of the bite marks are in the form of exceptionally deep punctures through the long bone cortices. These provide a rare opportunity to estimate the bite-force capacities of this taxon through tooth indentation simulations. These experiments showed that approximately 4100 N of bite force were required to generate one of the bite marks, and 8200 N would have been generated simultaneously at a distal-most tooth position. These values are higher than those reported for large carnivoran mammals but similar to values recorded for comparably sized crocodilians. Although current evidence does not indicate how D. antirrhopus actually used its claws and teeth to acquire prey resources, it is clear that large individuals were capable of generating forces great enough to bite through bone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1177
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010


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