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The Mammalian Jaw: A Mechanical Analysis

By: Walter Stalker Greaves

114 pages, 32 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2012 | #197708 | ISBN-13: 9781107016224
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £92.99 $114/€104 approx

About this book

Mammalian skull structure is notably diverse; however at a basic level the jaw mechanism is remarkably similar, if not essentially the same, in the majority of mammals. Using simple models that are compared with real animals at every step, this book examines the basic structural features of the mammalian jaw mechanism from a mechanical point of view. It explores how the mechanical constraints placed on the jaw have contributed to the evolution of an efficient basic structure, used by many mammals, which precludes mechanical difficulties and uses a minimum amount of bone tissue. Throughout The Mammalian Jaw the emphasis is on conceptual understanding, with explanations linked together to form a complete story that can be applied to both fossil and extant mammals. Summarising over forty years of research from one of the leading pioneers in 3D jaw mechanics, this is a must-have for anyone interested in mammalian jaw morphology.



1. The jaw viewed as a two-dimensional lever
2. The jaw viewed as a three-dimensional lever
3. Vector inclination and joint location
4. Skull torsion and the postorbital bar

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Walter Stalker Greaves is a retired affiliate of the Department of Oral Biology, University of Illinois, Chicago. He spent his career teaching anatomy at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and human gross anatomy in the College of Dentistry, University of Illinois, Chicago. His research concentrated on the mammalian jaw mechanism, using very simple mechanical models to explain how the jaw works and why the jaw mechanism has evolved to essentially the same basic structure.

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