Journal or Book Title
Journal of Experimental Biology
Bite force is a measure of whole-organism performance that is often used to investigate the relationships between performance, morphology and fitness. When in vivo measurements of bite force are unavailable, researchers often turn to lever models to predict bite forces. This study demonstrates that bite force predictions based on two-dimensional (2-D) lever models can be improved by including three-dimensional (3-D) geometry and realistic physiological cross-sectional areas derived from dissections. Widely used, the 2-D method does a reasonable job of predicting bite force. However, it does so by over predicting physiological cross-sectional areas for the masseter and pterygoid muscles and under predicting physiological cross-sectional areas for the temporalis muscle. We found that lever models that include the three dimensional structure of the skull and mandible and physiological cross-sectional areas calculated from dissected muscles provide the best predictions of bite force. Models that accurately represent the biting mechanics strengthen our understanding of which variables are functionally relevant and how they are relevant to feeding performance.
Davis, JL; Santana, SE; Dumont, ER; and Grosse, IR, "Predicting bite force in mammals: two-dimensional versus three-dimensional lever models" (2010). Journal of Experimental Biology. 136.