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The biomechanical role of the chondrocranium and the material properties of cartilage

Jones, MEH; Groning, F; Aspden, R; Dutel, H; Sharp, A; Moazen, M; Fagan, MJ; (2020) The biomechanical role of the chondrocranium and the material properties of cartilage. Vertebrate Zoology , 70 (4) pp. 699-715. 10.26049/VZ70-4-2020-10. Green open access

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Abstract

The chondrocranium is the cartilage component of the vertebrate braincase. Among jawed vertebrates it varies greatly in structure, mineralisation, and in the extent to which it is replaced by bone during development. In mammals, birds, and some bony fish, most of the chondrocranium is replaced by bone whereas in lizards, amphibians, and chondrichthyan fish it may remain a significant part of the braincase complex in adulthood. To what extent this variation relates to differences in skull biomechanics is poorly understood. However, there have been examinations of chondrocranium histology, in vivo strain, and impact on rostrum growth following partial removal of the chondrocranium. These studies have led to suggestions that the chondrocranium may provide structural support or serve to dampen external loads. Advances in computing-power have also facilitated an increase in the number of three-dimensional computer-based models. These models can be analysed (in silico) to test specific biomechanical hypotheses under specified loading conditions. However, representing the material properties of cartilage is still problematic because these properties differ according to the speed and direction of loading. The relationship between stress and strain is also non-linear. Nevertheless, analyses to date suggest that the chondrocranium does not provide a vertical support in lizards but it may serve to absorb some loads in humans. We anticipate that future models will include ever more detailed representations of the loading, anatomy, and material properties, in tandem with rigorous forms of model validation. However, comparison among a wider range of vertebrate subjects should also be pursued, in particular larvae, juveniles, and very small adult animals.

Type: Article
Title: The biomechanical role of the chondrocranium and the material properties of cartilage
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.26049/VZ70-4-2020-10
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.26049/VZ70-4-2020-10
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Biomechanics; cartilage; chondrocranium; finite element analysis; Salvator meriannae; skull.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116814
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