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Human bite stronger than ape's

The human bite is more powerful than that of a typical ape, says an Australian study.

world Updated: Jun 23, 2010 12:52 IST

The human bite is more powerful than that of a typical ape, says an Australian study.

Researchers found that humans can achieve relatively high bite forces using less-powerful jaw muscles, which results in more efficient bite than those of the chimp, gorilla and orang-utan.

The human skull does not have to be robust because, for any given bite force, the sum of forces acting on the human skull is much less.

The study was led by Stephen Wroe, Computational Biomechanics Research Group in the University of New South Wales (UNSW)'s School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Researchers used sophisticated 3D element analysis to compare digital models of actual skulls that had been CAT-scanned, said a university release.

These results explain the apparent inconsistency of thick tooth enamel in modern humans - a feature typically associated with high bite forces in other species.

Thick enamel and large human tooth roots are well adapted to take high loads when biting. These findings appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.