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My creature is a B.O.W, designed to be especially good at ambushing and to use its Jaws as it's main weapon. It's basic hunting strategy is similar to the spectral bat's, immobilizing prey and delivering a bite to the skull to kill it. Additionally, it also possesses a ranged blasting attack from its mouth (supplied by mechanical enhancements inside its chest, no need to enter in the dragon breath matter), but that's secondary. enter image description here this image is merely illustrative of how I'd like the jaw to be able to move. Source is hyperendocrin giganotosaur from the game "the isle"

However, observing cases like crocodiles and the T-rex, it appears that their bite force seem to be linked to a lack of mobility in the skull,usually meaning lateral jaw articulation is minimal. The jaw being split also means each half of the lower jaw would need to have all the muscles necessary for the range of movement without being Able to rely on one another's.

Based on this, could the B.O.W keep the necessary bite force, while having a splitting lower jaw, by earth standards? Would it need something like the Dunkleosteus' plates near its head to accommodate such musculature?

Note: the creature is roughly 2m tall, weights around 200 kg and is a good climber, usually surprising prey by dropping on it. It's main target consists of humans (which is why it needs powerful bite). Going for the neck is a secondary strategy, should the head prove to be too heavily protected, but not its main strategy. The creature has an ideal bite force of around 5000 newtons (I planed to use bony plates as dentition, since they'd help minimize the contact surface and concentrate the force in a piercing/shearing activity), more that what's required to bite through a human skull through the temples. Ideally it needs to be able to keep its mouth properly shut when not in use. It's skeletal system is an endoskeleton.

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  • $\begingroup$ How split is the jaw? on the image you used the centre of the split, if designed better could carry the strong biting force whilst the sides are just to wrap around whatever it bites. $\endgroup$
    – user69935
    Apr 22, 2020 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ Try to focus on one thing at a time! Bite force OR heat resistance. This is essentially two separate and equally deserving of our attention questions! I'm going to vote to close until you determine which one you wish to focus on. And please! Ask the other question separately! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Apr 22, 2020 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @RandySavage could you please elaborate? I didn't quite understand what you mean $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2020 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ @RandySavage I've edited the question so that the heat issue is secondary to the bite force. I'm actually interested in a possible way for the splitting to aid in the biting rather and use other mechanisms to deal with the heat. $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2020 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ "Note: the creature is roughly 2m tall, weights around 200 kg and is a good climber, usually surprising prey by dropping on it." Oy?! Mate! That's Thylarctos plummetus' strategy and, believe me, it doesn't need any split jaw to be successful! Just take care to apply Vegemite behind your ears each morning if you value your life. $\endgroup$ Jan 2 at 2:50

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This is certainly possible (snakes do something similar, having the mandibles articulated at multiple points including at the chin), however a design such as this would have a particular problem that would need to be overcome.

Consider the task of using a pair of chopsticks. As you apply pressure via the chopsticks, there is a tendency for the item being held to rotate sideways and for the chopsticks to 'cross over', slipping laterally across one-another.

In animals with a traditional arch-shaped jaw, their anatomy often makes such lateral motion of the jaws more difficult and limited, and the muscles that prevent (or facilitate) such motion operate with a large lever advantage across the width of the jaw.

However, a creature such as this is designed to allow the halves of the mandible to have great lateral freedom of motion.

Now, the jaw hinge joints may be designed to allow lateral motion when the jaws are open, but restrict lateral motion when closed, but the problem will still arise when biting down upon an object which is not of a known size, that may keep the jaw from being passively pushed into the correct alignment.

The solution to this is to have independent muscles that control the lateral alignment of each half mandible. As the creature bites down, any unwanted lateral motion could be felt and countered by muscular effort until the skull and joint structures engage to enforce correct alignment.

Given that this creature would have very large muscles contributing to a large bite force, the lateral alignment muscles would also need to be large, perhaps up to 20% of the size of the main biting muscles.

It seems to me that the split mandible wirh such a large bite force has little utility beyond that of providing a threat display in that the creature can display a visually disproportionately large mouth, and it would come at a relatively high cost in terms of the musculature required. A creature with traditional jaws that can open its mouth to a particularly large degree is the hippopotamus, which can open it's mouth to an angle of nearly 180°. It too uses its mouth as a threat display, as well as a weapon against its enemies.

Creatures with particularly large bite forces are typically quite capable of biting their food into chunks that can easily be swallowed without the need for snake-like jaw articulation designed to allow swallowing whole prey larger than their heads.

One creature that had both the ability to bite off chunks of flesh and swallow particularly large chunks with the aid of articulated jaws was the (IIRC) jurassic-era dinosaur Allosaurus. As it is thought to have been a pack hunter, it may have needed to be able to bite off and swallow large chunks of meat quickly in order to get it's fair share of a large kill.

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It might be possible with the right tendon setup to get some of what you are looking for.

If the tendons wrap around from the inside groove of the split jaw and you have massive muscles on the outside of the split to open the jaw. The muscles would stretch the tendons resulting in a snapping force. I would include some sort of catch in the jaw hinge so that the jaws can be sort of locked open. That would avoid having to spend energy holding the jaw open. This would operate the jaws like a bear trap.

This would result in a lot of force in the initial snap but very little force holding the jaw shut. It probably would not have room for much muscle on the inner edge with all that tendon. It would probably have just enough muscle to keep the jaw from swinging open as it walks or runs.

I would recommend backward facing piercing teeth on the split lower jaw because the tendons will be the only thing holding the jaws shut. So, they won't be able to hold onto the prey without some help.

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In a split jaw, the jaws, jaw muscles, and jaw joint would need to all be anchored into the same plane, which would prevent an opening lower jaw. However, if the upper jaw is also split, then the lower jaw and muscles could be attached to the upper jaw, allowing the entire jaw system to move apart freely, resulting in a jaw similar to the chelicerae of a camel spider

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I don't think the jaw can be split and have a powerful bite force but here a few possible ideas:

  1. A mechanical split jaw. It already has a mechanical enhancement for it blast attack so it could have an extremely powerful mechanical jaw.
  2. Don't have the jaw split, have it open really wide so its own blast attack doesn't burn its own mouth. The Hippo has the 2nd most powerful bite at 8100 newtons and their mouth can open ridiculously wide.
  3. The split is like an insects mandibles but their attached to a lower jaw, they wont be capable of a strong bite force but used for better latching on to their prey, when the flaps/ mandibles fold down they reveal some serious tusks that will be perfect for cracking skulls.
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