Scientists Measure Force Of Great White Bite

As reported on

Its fearsome set of gnashers would send shivers down any creature’s spine.

But scientists have measured the bite of a great white shark, and calculated it to be a bone-crunching 1.8 tons.

A chomp from the fearsome predator is three times more powerful than an African lion’s and 20 times stronger than a human’s.

Nature’s largest predatory fish topped the ‘bite force’ league compiled by researchers  in Sydney, Australia using pioneering imaging techniques.

A 2.4 metre-long male shark can inflict a bite of nearly two tonnes, half the bite that could be achieved by the legendary Tyrannosaurus Rex – an estimated 3.1 tonnes.

Measuring a shark bite for the first time did not require a suicidal devotion to science, but used a new engineering technique called finite element analysis.

The method, which is widely used in building and car design, involves creating a 3D computer model of the shark’s internal anatomy.

Using tiny prisms, the researchers built up data on the passage of stresses and strains through its skull and muscles.

A great white’s bite is the key to its terrifying reputation, according to Stephen Wroe, of the University of New South Wales.

He said: ‘Nature has endowed the great white shark with more than enough bite force to kill and eat large and potentially dangerous prey.

‘It must also be remembered that its extremely sharp serrated teeth require relatively little force to drive them through thick skin, fat and muscle.’

But while the great white can easily overpower an adult human – which has a bite measuring a puny 80kg – it would have come off worse against a now extinct creature known as the ‘big tooth’.

The 16-metre long Carcharodon megalodon, which died out 1.5 million years ago, was once the true king of the ocean, weighing an awesome 100 tons.

Its colossal mouth would have produced a but force of 10.8 to 18.2 tons.  Wroe added: ‘Pound for pound the great white’s bite is not particularly impressive but the sheer size of the animal means that in absolute terms in tops the scales.’

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