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[dinosaur] Dinosaur and mammal differing trabecular bone architecture (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper with free pdf:

Trevor G. Aguirre, Aniket Ingrole, Luca Fuller, Tim W. Seek, Anthony R. Fiorillo, Joseph J. W. Sertich & Seth W. Donahue (2020)
Differing trabecular bone architecture in dinosaurs and mammals contribute to stiffness and limits on bone strain.
PLoS ONE 15(8): e0237042.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237042

Free pdf:


The largest dinosaurs were enormous animals whose body mass placed massive gravitational loads on their skeleton. Previous studies investigated dinosaurian bone strength and biomechanics, but the relationships between dinosaurian trabecular bone architecture and mechanical behavior has not been studied. In this study, trabecular bone samples from the distal femur and proximal tibia of dinosaurs ranging in body mass from 23â8,000 kg were investigated. The trabecular architecture was quantified from micro-computed tomography scans and allometric scaling relationships were used to determine how the trabecular bone architectural indices changed with body mass. Trabecular bone mechanical behavior was investigated by finite element modeling. It was found that dinosaurian trabecular bone volume fraction is positively correlated with body mass similar to what is observed for extant mammalian species, while trabecular spacing, number, and connectivity density in dinosaurs is negatively correlated with body mass, exhibiting opposite behavior from extant mammals. Furthermore, it was found that trabecular bone apparent modulus is positively correlated with body mass in dinosaurian species, while no correlation was observed for mammalian species. Additionally, trabecular bone tensile and compressive principal strains were not correlated with body mass in mammalian or dinosaurian species. Trabecular bone apparent modulus was positively correlated with trabecular spacing in mammals and positively correlated with connectivity density in dinosaurs, but these differential architectural effects on trabecular bone apparent modulus limit average trabecular bone tissue strains to below 3,000 microstrain for estimated high levels of physiological loading in both mammals and dinosaurs.


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