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Avian long bones, flight and bipedalism.

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  • 1Departament de Biologia Animal, Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal, 645, 08028 Barcelona, Spain,


Morphological, geometrical, chemical and mechanical characteristics of avian long bones are reviewed. Important differences exist between long bones of birds and mammals. Differences are also present in appendicular bones of birds, either between wing bones and leg bones or proximal (stylopodial) long bones and distal (zeugopodial) long bones. Special emphasis is put on pneumatization, in terms of both phylogenetic origin and geometrical and mechanical characteristics linked to it. Cortical thickness, bending strength and flexural Young's modulus were significantly lower in pneumatized bones than in marrow-filled bones. Possible adaptive reasons for the differences shown are discussed.

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