(CBS News) -- No creature, living or dead has ever come close to matching the power and strength of the Tyrannosaurus rex's bone breaking bite, according to new research published in the Biology Letters.
British scientists produced a digital model of a T. rex skeleton at Manchester Museum, complete with all the muscles which the beast used to snap its huge jaws shut, to calculate the full force of a bite.
"We digitised the skull with a laser scanner, so we had a 3-D model of the skull on our computer," Dr Bates told BBC Nature.
Scientists have long been divided on this issue. Many have argued that the mechanics of T. rex's jaw limited the dinosaur to feasting only on carcases.
Dr. Karl Bates, from the University of Liverpool biomechanics laboratory, conducted the study along with colleague Peter Falkingham of the University of Manchester.
Past studies estimated the T. rex's biting force to be as powerful as 13,400 Newtons (3,012 lbs). However, the new British study, which tested a wider range of muscles, found the biting force was more likely between 35,000 (7,868 lbs) and 57,000 Newtons (12,814 lbs) in a single rear tooth.
"That's equivalent to a medium-sized elephant sitting on you." Dr Bates told the BBC.
The human biting force is typically less than 1,000 Newtons.
Dr Bill Sellers who studies living and extinct animals at the University of Manchester told BBC Nature, "I think everyone expected T. rex to have a strong bite force, but it's even stronger than we expected."