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Animal Locomotion$
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Andrew Biewener and Sheila Patek

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198743156

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198743156.001.0001

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Muscles and Skeletons

Muscles and Skeletons

The Building Blocks of Animal Movement

(p.12) Chapter 2 Muscles and Skeletons
Animal Locomotion
Andrew A. Biewener, Shelia N. Patek
Oxford University Press

Animal locomotion depends on the organization, physiology and biomechanical properties of muscles and skeletons. Musculoskeletal systems encompass the mechanical interactions of muscles and skeletal elements that ultimately transmit force for movement and support. Muscles not only perform work by contracting and shortening to generate force, they can also operate as brakes to slow the whole body or a single appendage. Muscles can also function as struts (rod-like) to maintain the position of a joint and facilitate elastic energy storage and recovery. Skeletal muscles share a basic organization and all rely on the same protein machinery for generating force and movement. Variation in muscle function, therefore, depends on the underlying mechanical and energetic components, enzymatic properties, and activation by the nervous system. Muscles require either an internal, external or hydrostatic skeletal system to transmit force for movement and support.

Keywords:   actin, myosin, sarcomere, neuromuscular activation, force-length, force-velocity, bone, tendon, exoskeleton, hydrostats

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