Deer, crocodiles and even a human are just some of the odd meals engulfed by pythons. How do they gorge on such giant fare? Python snakes don’t dislocate their jaws (a common myth), but instead rely on the springiness of the tissues connecting their jawbones.
Unlike in mammals, python snakes have a lower jawbone that is split into two parts that move independently of each other; and they are not connected by a bone in the front. In addition, the so-called quadrate bone that attaches the lower jaw to the skull is not rigidly attached in snakes, giving a python lots of wiggle room for devouring enormous prey.
“The two mandibles are not joined at the front by a rigid symphysis, as ours are, but by an elastic ligament that allows them to spread apart,” Patrick Gregory, a biology professor at the University of Victoria in Australia, told Live