The spongy bones of humans handle stress efficiently via the distribution of fine strands called trabeculae.

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Learn more about the structure of the bone and how one innovator drew inspiration from trabeculaes to design prostethic limbs in Tom McKeag's " the Bone" on pages 58-59 of Zygote Quarterly:
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"In some materials, such as metal, stress lines are usually invisible; but in others, including bone, they are often quite easy to see. Some parts of bone are composed of a spongy mesh of very fine strands called trabeculae. In a cross-section of bone the trabeculae can be seen to be orientated to the lines of stress. Where they are most closely packed together, the stress is greatest. It was a section of the top of a human thigh bone that inspired Professor Culmann, a Swiss engineer, to design in 1866, a new crane: he realized that the lines of stress shown by the trabeculae constituted a diagram of how his crane should be designed to cope with similar stress (diagram c)." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:35)

The grand design: Form and colour in animalsOctober 28, 1983
Sally Foy

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