There is evidence that damage, viscoelastic stiffness properties, and postyield mechanical properties are related in bone tissue. Our objective was to test whether presence of a flaw would have an influence on the apparent viscoelastic properties of bone. Examining the effect of flaw orientation on apparent viscoelastic properties and utilization of dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) as a nondestructive means for detection of damage were our secondary objectives. Cortical bone beams (2 x 2 x 19 mm) machined from the cranial cortex of the radii of six Warhill sheep were used. The specimens were placed in a DMA machine and baseline measurements of storage modulus (E1) and loss factor (tan delta), once for loads in the craniocaudal and once in the mediolateral directions, were performed using a three-point bending configuration for a frequency range of 1-10 Hz. Craniocaudal/mediolateral measurement ratio was calculated as a measure of anisotropy for tan delta and E1. After cutting a thin through-thickness macroscopic notch on the caudal surface at the center of each beam, oscillatory tests were repeated. Two-way repeated measures analysis of variance followed by Tukey's test was used with group (craniocaudal, mediolateral, notched craniocaudal, and notched mediolateral measurements) and frequency as factors. Regression analysis and analysis of covariance were used for examining the relationship between viscoelastic parameters and frequency. Tan delta and E1 were not different between craniocaudal and mediolateral measurements before the flaw was introduced (p > 0.8 and p = 1, respectively). In the presence of the flaw, tan delta was significantly increased (p < 0.003) whereas E1 was significantly reduced (p < 0.001) for craniocaudal measurements. Tan delta and E1 were nearly isotropic in the tested directions before the introduction of a flaw into the bone tissue. Introduction of a flaw resulted in increased tan delta and E1 anisotropy. Presence of a notch resulted in a significant increase in tan delta anisotropy with increasing frequency. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that cortical bone tissue exhibits a different apparent viscoelastic behavior in the presence of a flaw and depending on the flaw's orientation. Our finding that the presence of a notch and its orientation can be detected by nondestructive DMA suggests that in vivo techniques may be developed for detection of cortical bone damage.