This paper contains a review of current information on biological structure, material properties and failure characteristics of bone, articular cartilage, ligament and tendon. The load-deformation response of biological tissues is presented with particular reference to the microstructure of the material. Although many of the tissues have been characterized as linear, elastic and isotropic materials, they actually have a more complicated response to load, which includes stiffening with increasing strain, inelastic yield, and strain rate sensitivity. Failure of compact and cancellous bone depends on the rate, type, and direction of loading. Soft biological tissues are vlscoelastie and exhibit a higher load tolerance with an increasing rate of loading. The paper includes a discussion on the basic principles of biomechanics and emphasizes material properties and failure characteristics of biological tissues subjected to impact loading.