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Bite Forces & Evolutionary Adaptations to Feeding Ecology in Carnivores; Per Christiansen, Stephen Wroe, Ecology, 88(2), 2007, pp. 347–358
Topic Started: Jul 15 2016, 11:43 PM (1,116 Views)
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Journal Reference
Per Christiansen, Stephen Wroe, Bite Forces & Evolutionary Adaptations to Feeding Ecology in Carnivores Ecology, 88(2), 2007, pp. 347–358

The Carnivora spans the largest ecological and body size diversity of any mammalian order, making it an ideal basis for studies of evolutionary ecology and functional morphology. For animals with different feeding ecologies, it may be expected that bite force represents an important evolutionary adaptation, but studies have been constrained by a lack of bite force data. In this study we present predictions of bite forces for 151 species of extant carnivores, comprising representatives from all eight families and the entire size and ecological spectrum within the order. We show that, when normalized for body size, bite forces differ significantly between the various feeding categories. At opposing extremes and independent of genealogy, consumers of tough fibrous plant material and carnivores preying on large prey both have high bite forces for their size, while bite force adjusted for body mass is low among specialized insectivores. Omnivores and carnivores preying on small prey have more moderate bite forces for their size. These findings indicate that differences in bite force represent important adaptations to and indicators of differing feeding ecologies throughout carnivoran evolution. Our results suggest that the incorporation of bite force data may assist in the construction of more robust evolutionary and palaeontological analyses of feeding ecology.

Below are the results of a new bite force study by Per Christiansen and Stephen Wroe. Both researchers previously published separate bite force studies in the past (posted on here before).

The study's reference is:

Ecology, 88 (2), 2007, P 347-358

Summary:: This study estimated the bite forces of 151 species (~ 4 skulls per species were used) from the Carnivora order. They also measured the "BFQ" (bite force quotient), which measures the bite force on a lb. for lb. basis (allometric effects or the tendency for smaller animals to perform better are removed by this statistic). Species that consume hard plants, bones and large prey had the strongest bites.

Canine bite force and BFQ are listed in the leftward columns.

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Hyena High Bite Force - A Function of Bone-Cracking?

The authors seem to suggest that the spotted hyena's high bite force is due to its bone-crushing abilities since its smaller cousins (which also crush large bones) have similar bite forces.

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Edited by Taipan, Oct 4 2017, 03:42 PM.
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Tiger,Sun bear,Striped Hyena and Polar Bear share the greatest bite forces according to these datas
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