The importance of accurate muscle modelling for biomechanical analyses: a case study with a lizard skull

Flora Gröning, Marc E. H. Jones, Neil Curtis, Anthony Herrel, Paul O'Higgins, Susan E. Evans, Michael J. Fagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Computer-based simulation techniques such as multi-body dynamics analysis are becoming increasingly popular in the field of skull mechanics. Multi-body models can be used for studying the relationships between skull architecture, muscle morphology and feeding performance. However, to be confident in the modelling results, models need to be validated against experimental data, and the effects of uncertainties or inaccuracies in the chosen model attributes need to be assessed with sensitivity analyses. Here, we compare the bite forces predicted by a multi-body model of a lizard (Tupinambis merianae) with in vivo measurements, using anatomical data collected from the same specimen. This subject-specific model predicts bite forces that are very close to the in vivo measurements and also shows a consistent increase in bite force as the bite position is moved posteriorly on the jaw. However, the model is very sensitive to changes in muscle attributes such as fibre length, intrinsic muscle strength and force orientation, with bite force predictions varying considerably when these three variables are altered. We conclude that accurate muscle measurements are crucial to building realistic multi-body models and that subject-specific data should be used whenever possible.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20130216
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number84
Early online date24 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2013


  • bite force
  • multi-body dynamics analysis
  • skull
  • feeding
  • validation
  • Tupinambis


Dive into the research topics of 'The importance of accurate muscle modelling for biomechanical analyses: a case study with a lizard skull'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this