Growth allometry of craniomandibular muscles, tendons, and bones in the laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus): Relationships to oromotor maturation and biomechanics of feeding

J. Hurov, W. Henry-Ward, L. Phillips, R. German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study addressed the problem of how growth of craniomandibular muscles, tendons, and bones influences the acquisition of oromotor skills and biomechanics of feeding in the laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus). Rats representing a 6.6-fold size range were dissected, and muscles, tendons, and mandibles were weighed. Cross-sectional areas of tendons and bones providing attachment surfaces for muscles were estimated. Ontogenetic scaling of craniomandibular muscles, tendons, and bones was described by using linear regression models, and departures from size-required compensations were used to characterize changes in oromotor function. A two-dimensional model was devloped which permitted calculation of mechanical advantages of four masticatory muscles; the model was used to show how mandibular growth and tooth eruption influence the biomechanics of rat feeding. Relative to mandible weight, most jaw muscles scaled either isometrically or positively, tendon cross-sectional areas scaled isometrically or negatively, and bone surfaces scaled negatively. With the exception of the superficial masseter and internal pterygoid muscles, mechanical advantages did not change significantly during mandible growth. Growth patterns of craniomandibular muscles, tendons, and bones contribute significantly to changes in morphology and oromotor function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-394
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Anatomy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy

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