How reptilian Tyson really put the bite on Holyfield
Thursday 03 July 1997
And the jaw action of the former champion on Saturday night was less like a human than a reptile: "He was shearing and tearing, which is almost alligator-like", said Tom Korioth, a scientist who specialises in the biomechanics of biting. Usually when we bite with our incisors, or front teeth, the downward bite is matched by a slight bending of the jaw, creating a slight sideways tearing force. But Tyson's chomping motion had an excessive tearing action, making it remarkably violent.
Holyfield needed plastic surgery to replace a piece of cartilage torn from his ear by Tyson, who was disqualified after he bit his opponent's other ear. His prize money was withheld and he has been suspended pending more hearings.
Professor Korioth, of the University of Minnesota's School of Dentistry, Minneapolis, has studied of the way the jaw works and the forces involved. After watching a video of the Tyson-Holyfield fight he said: "Most of the ear is cartilage, and you need a lot of power to bite through it."
According to New Scientist magazine, tests by Prof Korioth on volunteers asked to bite on pressure pads for five seconds showed that normally the incisors exert a force equivalent to a 10-kg weight. He estimated that the force needed to sever a piece of the ear's cartilage would be roughly twice as great. The volunteers, though, were not behind on points at the start of the third round against an opponent who had previously beaten them for the world championship. However, even Tyson might find a worrying opponent in a human tested in 1985, whose teeth came together with a force like a 170-kg weight. If he is banned from boxing he should think a while before taking up alligator-wrestling (and ear-biting). The reptiles' jaws can exert a force equivalent to a weight of between 650 and 1,400kg - more than 300 times greater than what he managed.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Thailand beach murders: Hannah Witheridge 'was raped by two men before being killed'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...