Abstract

The objective of this study is to analyze how different crown morphologies and different root lengths respond to stresses generated by the bite forces of Albertosaurus sarcophagus and Tyrannosaurus rex. Six well-preserved teeth of A. sarcophagus from the Albertosaurus bonebed in Dry Island Park (southern Alberta) were selected to study their biomechanics, and T. rex teeth were included for comparison. The three-dimensional (3-D) models were obtained through computerized tomography (CT) scanning and 3-D digitizing. Finite element analyses were performed in Strand7®. Bite forces for Albertosaurus and Tyrannosaurus were calculated based on cranial and jaw proportions. The results were viewed with the Tresca yield criterion. The ratios of shear stresses observed along the mesio-distal versus labio-lingual axes of all models allows the identification of similar stress distribution patterns in the upper and lower jaws of Albertosaurus and the upper jaws of Tyrannosaurus, with a higher amount of shear along the mesio-distal axis occurring in the mid-maxillary teeth. The dentary teeth of Tyrannosaurus, however, show a different stress distribution pattern, with a higher amount of shear occurring along the labio-lingual axis of the mid-dentary teeth. These differences in jaw mechanics suggest that the function of teeth in the lower jaw of Tyrannosaurus shifted a few positions to compensate different proportions in the dentary that cause the anterior dentary teeth to be aligned with the largest maxillary teeth in Tyrannosaurus. These results suggest that heterodonty in these groups is different and that tooth form and function are sensitive to jaw proportions.

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