BBSRC Skull Mechanics Project

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2011 Sphenodon tuatara skull FEA Curtis etal 2011

An Finite Element analysis of strain in the skull of Sphenodon under comprehensive loading conditions (See Curtis et al. 2011).

2011_Sphenodon_sutures_cranial_joints_Jones_etal_2011

A map of the cranial bone overlaps found in the skull of an adult Sphenodon (See Jones et al. 2011).

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A rigid body model of a Sphenodon head, neck and associated muscles. Note colour coding of muscle groups differes from that found in published work (See Curtis et al. 2010).


Objective:

This project aims to improve understanding of how skull architecture in reptiles is related to skull mechanics, musculature, bone growth, feeding in evolution of major amniote groups. It involves using sophisticated computer models (with Multibody Dynamics analysis) based on data from computed tomography (CT) and anatomical dissections as well as analytical engineering software in order carry out Finite Element Analysis. The project has already led to a ground breaking method for representing muscle activity in computer modelling and provided insight into the role of cranial sutures in vertebrate skull mechanics.


Staff
:

Neil Curtis University of Hull
Susan Evans UCL
Mike Fagan University of Hull
Flora Groening
University of Hull
Marc Jones UCL
Mehran Moazen University of Hull
Paul O'Higgins Hull-York Medical School
JunFen Shi University of Hull


Related links:


Publications:

Peer reviewed articles:

  • Gröning F, Jones MEH, Curtis N, Herrel A, O'Higgins P, Evans SE, Fagan MJ. 2013. The importance of accurate muscle modelling for biomechanical analyses: a case study with a lizard skull. Journal of Royal Society Interface 10: DOI:10.1098/rsif.2013.0216
  • Jones MEH, Werneburg I, Curtis N, Penrose R, O’Higgins P, Fagan MJ, Evans SE. 2012. The head and neck anatomy of sea turtles (Cryptodira: Chelonioidea) and skull shape in Testudines. PLoS ONE 7(11): e47852. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047852
  • Jones MEH O'Higgins P, Fagan M, Evans SE, Curtis N. 2012. Shearing mechanics and the influence of a flexible symphysis during oral food processing in Sphenodon (Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia). The Anatomical Record 295: 1075-1091. DOI 10.1002/ar.22487
  • Curtis N, Jones MEH, Shi J, O'Higgins P, Evans SE, Fagan MJ. 2011. Functional relationship between skull form and feeding mechanics in Sphenodon, and implications for diapsid skull development. PLoS ONE 6(12): e29804. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0
  • Jones MEH, Curtis N, Fagan MJ, O’Higgins P, Evans SE. 2011. Hard tissue anatomy of the cranial joints in Sphenodon (Rhynchocephalia): sutures, kinesis, and skull mechanics. Palaeontologia Electronica 14, Issue 2; 17A:92p; palaeo-electronica.org/2011_2/251/index.html
  • Curtis N, Jones MEH, Lappin AK, Evans SE, O’Higgins P, Fagan MJ. 2010. Comparison between in vivo and theoretical bite performance: Using multi-body modelling to predict muscle and biteforces in a reptile skull. Journal of Biomechanics 43: 2804-2809. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.05.037
  • Curtis N, Jones MEH, Evans SE, O’Higgins P, Fagan MJ. 2010. Feedback control from the jaw joints during biting: an investigation of the reptile Sphenodon using multibody modelling. Journal of Biomechanics 43: 3132-3137. DOI:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.08.001
  • Curtis N, Jones MEH, Evans SE, Shi J, O’Higgins P, Fagan MJ. 2010. Predicting muscle activation patterns from motion and anatomy: modelling the skull of Sphenodon. Royal Society Interface 7: 153–160 DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2009.0139
  • Curtis N, Jones MEH, Evans SE, O’Higgins P, Fagan MJ. 2009. Visualising muscle anatomy using three-dimensional computer models - An example using the head and neck muscles of Sphenodon. Palaeontologia Electronica 12, Issue 3, 7T: 18p Weblink
  • Jones MEH, Curtis N, O'Higgins P, Fagan M, Evans SE. 2009. Head and neck muscles associated with feeding in Sphenodon (Reptilia: Lepidsauria: Rhynchocephalia). Palaeontologia Electronica 12 (2, 7A): 1–56. Weblink
  • Moazen M, Curtis N, O’Higgins P, Evans SE, Fagan M. 2009. The function of the lower temporal bar in lepidosaurian evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. PNAS 20: 8273-8277. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0813156106
  • Moazen M, Curtis N, O'Higgins P, Jones MEH, Evans SE, Fagan MJ, 2009. Assessment of the role of sutures in a lizard skull: a computer modelling study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276(1654):39–46. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0863
  • Moazen M, Curtis N, Evans SE, O'Higgins P, Fagan MJ. 2008. Combined finite element and multibody dynamics analysis of biting in a Uromastyx hardwickii lizard skull. Journal of Anatomy 213(5): 499–508 (and cover) . DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.00980.x
  • Moazen M, Curtis N, Evans SE, O’Higgins P, Fagan M. 2008. Rigid-body analysis of a lizard skull: Modelling the skull of Uromastyx hardwickii. Journal of Biomechanics 41:1274–1280. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.01.012 0


Abstracts:

  • Curtis N, Jones MEH, Evans SE, O’Higgins, Fagan MJ. 2010. The role and function for cranial sutures in reptiles: a finite element analysis of the skull of Sphenodon (Diapsida: Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology S30: 77A
  • Jones MEH, Curtis N, Evans SE, O’Higgins, Fagan MJ. 2010. Cranial joints in Sphenodon (Rhynchocephalia) and its fossil relatives with implications for lepidosaur skull mechanics. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology S30: 113A.
  • Curtis N, Evans SE, Jones MEH, Shi JF, Fagan MJ. 2008. Predicting muscle forces and activation patterns during mastication: a multi-body computer modelling study of Sphenodon punctatus (Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28S: 68.
  • Moazen M, Curtis N, Evans SE, Jones MEH, Fagan MJ. 2008. The role of cranial sutures in a lizard skull: a Finite Element Analysis investigation. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology S28: 117A.


Popular articles:

  • Jones MEH. 2009. Muscle activity in the tuatara mirrored by a computer model. SRARNZ notes 36: 5. (SRARNZ).


Invited talks:

  • Fagan MJ et al. July 2011. Paris, France. 5th international meeting on Cranio-Cervical Systems.
  • Fagan MJ et al. October 2010. Vienna, Austria.
  • Curtis N et al. October 2010. "The role and function for cranial sutures in reptiles: a finite element analysis of the skull of Sphenodon (Diapsida: Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia)" 70th meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Pittsburgh, USA (part of the special symposium  "Making Connections: the evolution and function of joints in vertebrates" hosted by Casey Holiday and Mathew Vickaryous).
  • Jones MEH et al. June 2010. "Modelling muscle structure and activity in vertebrate skulls: implications for the analysis of extinct taxa". IPC, London, UK (part of the special symposium "Functional morphology at the intersection between biology and engineering" hosted by Emily Rayfield, Colin Palmer and Phil Anderson).
  • Fagan MJ et al. July 2010. "The importance of considering all active and passive loading effects in functional studies of the skeletal system –a combined multibody dynamics analysis and finite element analysis of a Sphenodon skull". 8th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Punta del Este, Uraguay.


Other talks:

  • Jones MEH et al. September 2010. "Cranial joints in Sphenodon and other Rhynchocephalia with implications for lepidosaur skull mechanics". 58th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Cambridge.
  • Curtis N et al. September 2010. "Functional analysis of skull shape". 58th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Cambridge.
  • Jones MEH et al. October 2010. "Cranial joints in Sphenodon (Rhynchocephalia) and its fossil relatives with implications for lepidosaur skull mechanics"  70th meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Pittsburgh, USA.
  • Curtis N et al. July 2009. "Predicting skull loading using multi-body modelling". Craniofacial Biomechanics: in vivo to in silico. York, UK.
  • Jones MEH March 2009. "A new view of Rhynchocephalia: why Sphenodon is not a living fossil" Evolution 150, Cuenca, Spain.
  • Moazen et al. October 2008. "The role of cranial sutures in a lizard skull: a Finite Element Analysis investigation" SVP 68, Cleveland, USA.
  • Jones MEH and Curtis N. April 2008. "Skull shape and feeding in Sphenodon and other Rhynchocephalia (Reptilia: Lepidosauria)" CEE workshop: Modern approaches in functional anatomy, London, UK.


Conference posters presented:

  • Jones MEH, Curtis N, Zhao S, O'Higgins P, Fagan MJ, Evans SE. "Modelling cranial joints in a reptile skull" Joint Winter Meeting of Anatomical Societies. Cardiff, Wales, UK.
  • Jones MEH, Curtis N, Zhao S, Fagan MJ, O'Higgins P, Evans SE. "Sutures and intracranial movements in Sphenodon (Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia)" 5th international meeting on Cranio-Cervical Systems. Paris, France.
  • Curtis N, Jones MEH, Evans SE, O’Higgins, Fagan MJ. 2010. "Predicting muscle forces and activation patterns during mastication: a multi-body computer modelling study of Sphenodon punctatus (Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia)" 68th meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Pittsburgh, USA.


Related press attention:

2012_tutara_eating_a_bird_Anatomical_Record_cover_image



The cover of The Anatomical Record July 2012
featuring the project's Sphenodon skull model

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The cover of Journal of Anatomy November 2008
featuring the project's Uromastyx skull model