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A 3-D nonhomogeneous finite-element (FE) dynamic model of a primate fingertip is developed in this paper based on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging measurements for better understanding the mechanism of human finger sensation. The geometries of a human fingertip are measured using an MR system, and a series of 2-D images is obtained. Utilizing a boundary tracking method, boundaries of the fingertip and distal phalanx are tracked from each image slice and a set of boundary nodes is generated to construct a 3-D tetrahedral mesh of the fingertip. The 3-D mesh is then utilized to formulate a nonhomogeneous FE dynamic model for simulating the fingertip behaviors. The constitutive model, which consists of elastic and viscous elements, is employed to govern the dynamic behaviors of individual tetrahedral FE. The FE model is further extended to deal with contact interaction between the fingertip and an external instrument. Differing with conventional fingertip models, the model presented in this paper is able to not only better represent internal and external geometries of a human fingertip but also take the tissue viscosity into consideration. Simulation and experiments are performed with both a human finger and a fingertip phantom under different indentation operations. We found that the Voigt model can simulate the force behaviors of a fingertip phantom but has difficulty to reproduce the force relaxation behavior of a human fingertip. We have therefore introduced a parallel five-parameter physical model to solve this problem.