Mechanical significance of streptostyly in lizards [20]

Journal Article (Letter;Journal)

The morphology of the lizard skull has been a subject of study for more than a century, particularly with respect to the morphology and function of the major jaw adducting muscles1-5 and the mechanics of the moving parts6-9. It is possible that controversies surrounding the extent and timing of bone movement, muscle contraction and force generation will be resolved by techniques such as electromyography, cineradiography and measurement of bone strain3,10. I present here data that facilitate a reconsideration of the function of the pterygoideus muscle, one of the two major jaw adducting muscles, and the mechanical significance of movements of the quadrate around the quadrate-squamosal joint. This movement, known as streptostyly6 occurs in all living lizards11 and also characterises the earliest members of the order12-14. On the basis of my data I propose that streptostyly in lizards is a means by which the mechanical advantage of the pterygoideus muscle is increased, so that this muscle makes a major contribution to bite force. © 1980 Nature Publishing Group.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, KK

Published Date

  • December 1, 1980

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 283 / 5749

Start / End Page

  • 778 - 779

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-0836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/283778a0

Citation Source

  • Scopus