FEA and Beam Mechanics

By simplifying leg bones down to basic beams, previous studies could have underestimated the stresses experienced in animal limbs by up to 142%. By digitally ‘crash-testing’ the bones of modern species, ranging from hedgehogs to giraffes, the team has discovered that errors associated with applying engineering equations are related to curvature of the bones. This raises concerns that previous reconstructions of fossil species, including dinosaurs, could have overestimated the maximum body weight their legs were capable of supporting.

This image shows the FEA calculated distribution of Von Mises stress at midshaft under bending.