Finite-element (FE) analysis has been used in palaeobiology to assess the mechanical performance of the jaw. It uses two types of models: tomography-based three-dimensional (3D) models (very accurate, not always accessible) and two-dimensional (2D) models (quick and easy to build, good for broad-scale studies, cannot obtain absolute stress and strain values). Here, we introduce extruded FE models, which provide fairly accurate mechanical performance results, while remaining low-cost, quick and easy to build. These are simplified 3D models built from lateral outlines of a relatively flat jaw and extruded to its average width. There are two types: extruded (flat mediolaterally) and enhanced extruded (accounts for width differences in the ascending ramus). Here, we compare mechanical performance values resulting from four types of FE models (i.e. tomography-based 3D, extruded, enhanced extruded and 2D) in Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium. In terms of absolute values, both types of extruded model perform well in comparison to the tomography-based 3D models, but enhanced extruded models perform better. In terms of overall patterns, all models produce similar results. Extruded FE models constitute a viable alternative to the use of tomography-based 3D models, particularly in relatively flat bones.
- finite-element analysis