Material properties of mandibular cortical bone in the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study reports the elastic material properties of cortical bone in the mandible of juvenile Alligator mississippiensis obtained by using an ultrasonic wave technique. The elastic modulus, the shear modulus, and Poisson's ratio were measured on 42 cylindrical Alligator bone specimens obtained from the lingual and facial surfaces of 4 fresh Alligator mandibles. The data suggest that the elastic properties of alligator mandibular cortical bone are similar to those found in mammals and are orthotropic. The properties most resemble those found in the cortex of mammalian postcranial long bones where the bone is most stiff in one direction and much less stiff in the two remaining orthogonal directions. This is different from cortical bone found in the mandibles of humans and some monkeys, where the bone has greatest stiffness in one direction, much less stiffness in another direction, and an intermediate amount in the third orthogonal direction. This difference suggests a relationship between levels of orthotropy and bending stress. The comparability of these elastic moduli to those of other vertebrates suggest that the high bone strain magnitudes recorded from the alligator mandible in vivo are not attributable to a lower stiffness of alligator mandibular bone.

published proceedings

  • Bone

author list (cited authors)

  • Zapata, U., Metzger, K., Wang, Q., Elsey, R. M., Ross, C. F., & Dechow, P. C.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Zapata, Uriel||Metzger, Keith||Wang, Qian||Elsey, Ruth M||Ross, Callum F||Dechow, Paul C

publication date

  • March 2010

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