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Major osteological landmarks were used to prepare idealized drawings of mammalian and reptilian lower jaws. Measurements from these drawings allowed the average output or bite force, along the entire jaw, to be calculated for many different anteroposterior positions of the input or muscle force. In the mammalian drawing, the maximum average bite force is exerted when the resultant force is located at about 30% of the way along the jaw from the joints. Because of geometric differences in the reptilian drawing, a resultant positioned at 20% of the way along the jaw exerts the maximum average bite force; a maximum force that is smaller than that in the mammalian case. The estimated location of the muscle resultant in actual cases corresponds to these calculated positions. Therefore, in real animals, the muscles are located in the position that produces the largest average force for any jaw length. The geometric changes necessary to transform the idealized reptilian drawing, with a smaller maximum average bite force, into that of the mammalian drawing, with a larger maximum force, are the same as those changes seen in the fossil record of the reptile/mammal transition. This finding suggests that the morphological changes that occurred in the jaws increased the average bite force in the primitive mammals.