• biomechanics;
  • lizard;
  • skull;
  • finite element analysis


Cranial sutures are sites of bone growth and development but micromovements at these sites may distribute the load across the skull more evenly. Computational studies have incorporated sutures into finite element (FE) models to assess various hypotheses related to their function. However, less attention has been paid to the sensitivity of the FE results to the shape, size, and stiffness of the modeled sutures. Here, we assessed the sensitivity of the strain predictions to the aforementioned parameters in several models of fronto-parietal (FP) suture in Lacerta bilineata. For the purpose of this study, simplifications were made in relation to modeling the bone properties and the skull loading. Results highlighted that modeling the FP as either an interdigitated suture or a simplified butt suture, did not reduce the strain distribution in the FP region. Sensitivity tests showed that similar patterns of strain distribution can be obtained regardless of the size of the suture, or assigned stiffness, yet the exact magnitudes of strains are highly sensitive to these parameters. This study raises the question whether the morphogenesis of epidermic scales in the FP region in the Lacertidae is related to high strain fields in this region, because of micromovement in the FP suture. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.