Condylar motion of the human temporomandibular joint was analyzed from magnetic resonance images of the joint. Fourteen static images were obtained during incremental jaw closure. Landmarks were identified on the magnetic resonance images and reference points were digitized. Then the motion of the joint was calculated based on an optimization algorithm. The technique was proven to be reproducible based on two feasibility tests. The results show that the motion of the condyle may be characterized as a small translation at the beginning of jaw opening, followed by a general motion afterwards. A forced bite will result in a slight condylar displacement when the jaw is near the closed position. The displacement will increase as the jaw opening increases.