CRUNCH TIME

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Nature -

There are many myths about spot­ted hye­nas and the mis­con­cep­tion that they’ve got the strong­est bite of all preda­tors is one of those. As hyena ex­pert Ar­jun Dheer says: “Their bite force is less than that of lions, tigers and salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles, but it’s their unique mor­phol­ogy that al­lows them to con­sume bones.” A spot­ted hyena’s skull has a ‘sagit­tal crest’ run­ning along the top – a bit like a bony mo­hawk – which the body-builder jaw and neck mus­cles at­tach to. Com­bined with wide pre­mo­lar teeth, these adap­ta­tions to­gether help cre­ate bone-crunch­ing jaw strength.

Hyena skulls have a prom­i­nent sagit­tal crest. This skull is from a male found dead after tak­ing on a buf­falo

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