Thursday, 30 November 2006

The blogerati brawl continues, with a new post on MetaxuCafe, and plenty of new comments in Susan Wyndham's Undercover blog. Following my own contribution, however, I thought I'd introduce dunkleosteus terrelli to be the mascot for the literary pundits.

dunkleosteus terrelli
Dunkleosteus appeared in two newspaper articles published today. The picture above appeared alongside the story running under the headline 'The strongest jaws in history', in the online version (it's different in the printed version) of The Australian. There's another picture if you click on the link. A picture also appears with the story under the headline 'Monster fish crushed opposition with strongest bite ever' in The Sydney Morning Herald, and which contains this:

Dunkleosteus was the first known large predator, pre-dating the dinosaurs. It belonged to a diverse group of armoured fish, placoderms, that dominated the oceans in the Devonian period between 360 million and 415 million years ago. Its formidable bite allowed it to feast on other armoured aquatic animals, including primitive sharks and smaller creatures protected by bone-like casings.

The Australian's story has an illustration showing the relative sizes of various sea-dwelling creatures (including humans).

Robert Pershing Wadlow, the tallest man in medical history, is shown at bottomAccording to The Australian, the pressure generated by a woman wearing a stiletto heel of 0.5cm area, by stepping on the toe of her husband would be about 127kg per square metre. The pressure brought to bear on its prey by dunkleosteus' jaws was 5000kg per square metre. Clearly, it's better to be trodden on just before heading out for dinner or to a night at the opera, than meeting up with dunkleosteus. Not much of a comparison, in fact. You'd be ripped in half before you knew what was happening. From the printed version of The Australian's story:

By comparison, scientists estimate the bite of Tyrannosaurus rex to have had a force of about 1360kg.

Well, we know what happened to dunkleosteus and T-rex, don't we?

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