Bite Force Pressures

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Bite Force Pressures

You may have heard or read about or even seen the video of a caged male lion biting off the finger of a Jamaican zookeeper who put his hand through the cage’s fencing. While there are many responses that an event like this can trigger, a technical one is “how much bite force does a lion have?” Depending on their age, size and gender, a lion’s bite force can range between 650 and 1,000 pounds per square inch (psi), according to A-Z Animals, an online animal encyclopedia.

Lion BIte - New York PostDo not try this – even in a zoo.
Image source: New York Post.

How does a lion’s bite force that compare to other animals? The land animal with the greatest bite force is the saltwater crocodile with a measurement of 3,700 psi for a 17-ft long subject. A sensor placed at the end of a stick safely provided the force measurement. Since some saltwater crocodiles can reach up 23 feet in length, a much larger force would not be surprising. In contrast, researchers estimate that a 21-foot great white shark can produce a bite force of nearly 4,000 psi. However, this number is based on computer modeling – not actual measurements.

In humans, bite force is important especially in dental research. Since the researchers can rely on the cooperation the subject, the bite force measurements are made with force transducers, such as strain gauge transducers, piezoresistive transducers, piezoelectric transducers, optical fiber transducers and pressure-sensitive films. The average human bite force is 162 psi.

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