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From the same journal

Variability of the mechanical properties of bone, and its evolutionary consequences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Publication details

DatePublished - 22 Feb 2007
Issue number12
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)127-135
Original languageEnglish


The relative variabilities (coefficient of variation (CV)) of 10 different mechanical properties of compact bone were determined from 2166 measurements. All measures of variability were made on a minimum of four specimens from any bone. Three pre-yield properties had a CV of about 12%. Six post-yield properties had CVs varying from 24 to 46%. Pre-yield properties increase as a function of mineral content, whereas post-yield properties decrease. These differences give insight into mechanical phenomena occurring at different stages during loading. Furthermore, the fact that some properties are more tightly determined than others has implications for the optimum values set by natural selection. This assertion is made more rigorous using a simple mathematical model for the evolutionarily optimal allocation in a trade-off where one property is imprecisely determined. It is argued that in general the optimum will be biased in favour of the more tightly determined properties than would be the case if all properties had the same CV.

    Research areas

  • bone, variability, mechanical properties, evolutionary optima, COMPACT-BONE, ENVIRONMENTS

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