Navigation Links
Study of 90 animals' thigh bones reveals how they can efficiently carry loads
Date:3/9/2011

The structures inside animals' thigh bones that enable them to support huge loads whilst being relatively lightweight are revealed in research published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The researchers say their work could lead to the development of new materials based on thigh bone geometry.

A team from Imperial College London and the Royal Veterinary College collected thigh bone samples from British museum collections and zoos, analysing specimens of the femur bone from 90 different species including the Asian elephant, Etruscan shrew, roadrunner, crocodile, emu, turkey, leopard and giraffe. They explored how animal size related to the formation of an interlinking lattice of tiny bone struts inside the femur called trabeculae. The researchers found that trabeculae, typically found near joints, have different geometry depending on the size of the species.

The researchers say their new understanding of how femur bones are structured could be used to advance a class of tough, light-weight structural materials, which could be used to improve bodywork for planes and cars.

Dr Michael Doube, lead author of the study from the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, who is also a veterinary surgeon, says:

"Scientists had not previously known that the structure of trabeculae varied, or scaled up, depending on the size of the animal. We assumed that trabeculae would be important in supporting the weight of larger creatures such as Asian elephants, which can weigh more than three tonnes. However, we were surprised to find that animals that have comparatively lighter loads, such as the Etruscan shrew, weighing three grams, also has trabeculae supporting its tiny body. Our study is helping us to see how the remarkable geometry of trabeculae supports loads in all creatures, no matter how big or small they are."

The scientists found that even though the overall amount of bone per unit volume stayed roughly the same in bigger animals and smaller animals, the trabeculae in bigger animals were thicker, further apart and less numerous.

The team suggest that the big trabecular struts inside the bones of larger animals help to support their heavier load without the need for thicker and denser bones. Using this structure saves valuable energy in larger animals because they do not have to grow, maintain and carry extra bone tissue around with them.

The scientists say new structural materials could be developed, which are inspired by geometry inside femurs. These materials would contain a lattice work of stiff foam that would be reinforced in certain areas, depending on the load being exerted on that particular section. This type of material could be used in car bodywork, only being reinforced in areas of the car where loads are heaviest. This could make cars lighter and more fuel efficient.

The team in the study used a technique called X-ray microtomography, which uses X-rays to create three dimensional images of the trabecular bone. This information was fed into a computer where the scientists created over 200 virtual computer models of the bones.

To analyse the bone structure of the 3-D femora models, the researchers also developed an open source computer program called BoneJ that examined different aspects of the trabeculae including the number of struts, their thickness and spacing. BoneJ has been downloaded more than 1500 times world-wide, with hits from over 250 institutes and organisations.

This research is part of ongoing work by the team who are also investigating how leg bones affect the gait and walking characteristics in different species. The information combined from both studies will be used by the team to understand the relationship between how animals walk and bone structure. This could lead to insights into a range of fields including understanding in more detail how bone deformities develop in animals and humans and deducing the movement patterns of ancient species in the field of palaeontology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Colin Smith
cd.smith@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46712
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Clean fuel worsens climate impacts for some vehicle engines: UBC study
2. WARFARIN Study Launched at WellStar Health System to Assess Impact of Genetic Testing in Reducing Hospitalizations and Deaths Caused by Warfarin
3. WARFARIN Study Launched at Overlake Hospital Medical Center to Assess Impact of Genetic Testing in Reducing Hospitalizations and Deaths Caused by Warfarin
4. Pivotal Study Validates Roches cobas® HPV Test with HPV-16 and 18 Genotyping for Identifying Women at Highest Risk for Cervical Cancer
5. Georgia Health Sciences University Clinical Study Shows RyMed InVision-Plus® IV Connector Significantly Decreased Central Venous Catheter Occlusions in Oncology Patients
6. Amicus Therapeutics Provides Positive Data Update from Phase 2 Long-Term Extension Study of Amigal™ for Fabry Disease
7. Study Confirms Third Trimester Amniotic Fluid a Reliable Source of Stem Cells for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Banking
8. Novartis Drug Afinitor® Extends Progression-Free Survival in Patients With Advanced Pancreatic NET, Study Published in NEJM Shows
9. New test to study proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases
10. A new model for studying Parkinsons
11. Cephalon Announces Positive Topline Results From a Phase IV Study of NUVIGIL in Shift Work Disorder
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... 07, 2016 , ... A new study published in the ... treated, advanced pancreatic cancer, liquid biopsies are not yet an adequate substitute for ... blood sampling may improve the value of a blood-based test.” The study was ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 2016 Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG ... Kephart as its chief science officer — a ... responsibilities at Neogen effective Jan. 1. Kephart ... agribusiness unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific, as well as ... His extensive industry experience also includes the management of ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Capital Corp. ("Zenith" ... that will be presented at the Company,s Annual and Special ... of Shareholders will take place on Thursday, December 15, 2016 ... Glenn Hall (Room EC1040), 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, ... (MST). A notice of meeting and management information circular, containing ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016  Biocom, the association for the ... below following passage of 21 st Century Cures legislation ... 30 by a 392-26 vote and in the Senate on ... attributed to Joe Panetta , president & CEO of ... give hope to millions of patients around the world. The ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/24/2016)... 2016 Cercacor today introduced Ember TM ... non-invasively measure hemoglobin, Oxygen Content, Oxygen Saturation, ... Rate in approximately 30 seconds. Smaller than a smartphone, ... access to key data about their bodies to help ... Hemoglobin carries oxygen to muscles. When ...
(Date:11/22/2016)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce that the company has ... Sciences Awards as "Most Outstanding in eClinical Solutions" ... of recognition and growth for MedNet, which has effectively ... iMedNet ™ , MedNet,s flagship eClinical ...
(Date:11/19/2016)... 18, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today that it ... to have an independent technology judge determine who has ... high tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and the best customer ... do most of what we do – which clearly ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):