Paleontologists Learn to Shake Up Virtual Bones

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Science  23 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5508, pp. 1475-1476
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5508.1475

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A sophisticated engineering tool called finite-element analysis is providing paleontologists with insights into how fossil skulls and other bones worked in real life. By making finite-element models of fossils and loading their material properties into a computer, researchers can calculate the compression and tension as force is applied in various ways--without risk of damage to the originals.