Biomechanics of the rostrum in crocodilians: A comparative analysis using finite-element modeling

Mchenry, CR, Clausen, PD, Daniel, WJT, Meers, MB and Pendharkar, A (2006) Biomechanics of the rostrum in crocodilians: A comparative analysis using finite-element modeling. Anatomical Record Part A-discoveries In Molecular Cellular And Evolutionary Biology, 288A 8: 827-849.


Author Mchenry, CR
Clausen, PD
Daniel, WJT
Meers, MB
Pendharkar, A
Title Biomechanics of the rostrum in crocodilians: A comparative analysis using finite-element modeling
Journal name Anatomical Record Part A-discoveries In Molecular Cellular And Evolutionary Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1552-4884; 1552-4854
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/ar.a.20360
Volume 288A
Issue 8
Start page 827
End page 849
Total pages 23
Editor Aaron J Ladman
Place of publication USA
Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
291504 Biomechanical Engineering
270503 Animal Anatomy and Histology
270799 Ecology and Evolution not elsewhere classified
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract This article reports the use of simple beam and finite-element models to investigate the relationship between rostral shape and biomechanical performance in living crocodilians under a range of loading conditions. Load cases corresponded to simple biting, lateral head shaking, and twist feeding behaviors. The six specimens were chosen to reflect, as far as possible, the full range of rostral shape in living crocodilians: a juvenile Caiman crocodilus, subadult Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus johnstoni, and adult Caiman crocodilus, Melanosuchus niger, and Paleosuchus palpebrosus. The simple beam models were generated using morphometric landmarks from each specimen. Three of the finite-element models, the A. mississippiensis, juvenile Caiman crocodilus, and the Crocodylus johnstoni, were based on CT scan data from respective specimens, but these data were not available for the other models and so these-the adult Caiman crocodilus, M. niger, and P. palpebrosus-were generated by morphing the juvenile Caiman crocodilus mesh with reference to three-dimensional linear distance measured from specimens. Comparison of the mechanical performance of the six finite-element models essentially matched results of the simple beam models: relatively tall skulls performed best under vertical loading and tall and wide skulls performed best under torsional loading. The widely held assumption that the platyrostral (dorsoventrally flattened) crocodilian skull is optimized for torsional loading was not supported by either simple beam theory models or finite-element modeling. Rather than being purely optimized against loads encountered while subduing and processing food, the shape of the crocodilian rostrum may be significantly affected by the hydrodynamic constraints of catching agile aquatic prey. This observation has important implications for our understanding of biomechanics in crocodilians and other aquatic reptiles.
Keyword Anatomy & Morphology
Crocodiles
Skull Biomechanics
Finite-element Analysis
Feeding
Hydrodynamics
Aquatic/marine Tetrapods
Comparative Modeling
Caiman-crocodilus
Alligator-mississippiensis
Functional-morphology
Feeding Apparatus
Fishing Behavior
Nile Crocodile
Bite-force
Strain
Archipelago
Evolution
Q-Index Code C1

 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 10:32:47 EST