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If a subspecies of human had bones that were made of an almost unbreakable material (let's just ignore any adverse effects this might have) how much would these bones help them to survive falls?

Would the bones prevent the shattering of the legs, or would the increased durability of the skeleton cause even more damage to the internal organs?

For the purpose of this question, consider the bones similar to Wolverine's adamantium-coated bones: inflexible and uncompressible.

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    $\begingroup$ Clarification: are we treating the bones as if they were just like stainless steel, or are the bones just like bones in every way other than they can't be broken? My primary issue is flexibility and compressibility. If we're talking about Wolverine's adamantium-covered bones, then jumping off a wall would force the bone through the flesh due to zero compressibility and flexibility. You'd never experience a break, but you'd take greater damage (or, perhaps, more frequent damage) overall. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 14 '18 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH Let's go with Wolverine's bones, since that's closest to what I'm intending in the question $\endgroup$ – Sydney Sleeper Aug 14 '18 at 21:47
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This is worse than normal bones.

There is a reason why cars bend and twist so much on a collision. That absorbs energy from the collision and keeps you alive. Used to be that a car could hit a post at 60mph and not bend much, or at all depending on its make. People inside would be turned into a pulp.

Same goes with unbreakable bones. The less damage your bones take from a high fall, the more of that damage goes pretty much everywhere else.

You should consider shock absorbing soft parts instead.

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not much. damage to internal organs will still be there, along with torn muscles and dislocated joints.

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  • $\begingroup$ A concussion and skull cracked in 15 pieces (many of which are poking into your brain matter) is a heck of a lot worse than a concussion and not a skull cracked into pieces (none of which are poking into your brain matter). $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 14 '18 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn the difference is mentioned "not much" rather than "not at all". Causes of death where broken bone damages organs are relatively rare. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 14 '18 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn, that's true, but it creates a new problem. Anything with that much force would end up splitting the skin and muscle right down to the unbreakable skull. No concussion: very good. No bones in brain matter: very, very good. Whomping nasty scar with the probability of necrosis... well... not good. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 14 '18 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ the biggest benefit it is holds you together, this is really only an advantage for long falls and only if you already have some kind of super healing however. $\endgroup$ – John Aug 14 '18 at 21:53
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Somewhat flexible, but nonbreakable bones would be of a big health benefit - medium falls usually result in fractures, and healing takes days and weeks, greatly affecting survival of species in the wild.

But big falls would be fatal all the same, because it's damage to internal organs, not bones, that makes a fall fatal.

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It depends on how far the fall is, and what angle you hit the ground.

The highest recorded G's that a person has experienced and survived was when Kenny Brack crashed into Tomas Scheckter. It was 214G, which is about 2097 m/s^2. According to this calculator that's equivalent to something like a fall from 80 meters with 4cm stopping distance.

Kenny Brack suffered multiple broken bones, but the wikipedia article doesn't list any internal injuries, so I'm going to assume that his only internal injuries were related to the fractures. I assume his flesh experienced almost the same G force that his bones experienced, so I would take this to mean that a person could remain relatively uninjured up to that point.

So, yeah, if I'm not terribly mistaken, then a person with unbreakable bones could stand up to about an 80 meter fall with minimal damage, if they landed the right way. Depending again on how they land, a fall from as low as 10 meters could give enough G's to knock them unconscious.

I want to note, against some anticipated objections, that unbreakable bones does not mean that the person will be perfectly rigid on impact. The person's joints will still bend in the normal way, cushioning the impact only a little less than what you'd get with bones. Eventually, though, if the fall is from high enough, that small amount of cushion you get from your bones breaking will make a difference and save your internal organs. I don't see any good sources online about where that cutoff is, but I wouldn't want to test it any higher than 80 meters.

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While I agree with the majority of answers that unbreakable bones will not do a significant amount of help preventing other internal injuries from occurring. The problem lies in the amount of negative acceleration the occurs when landing from a fall, unbreakable bones means that there is just a little less distance for the force to be dissipated than in the case a bone breaks.
Something that is not mentioned in other answers however that does give an advantage to unbreakable bones is that you will not have to worry about bone splinters adding further complications to the internal injuries you would receive.

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