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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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Neuromuscular Control of Movement

Neuromuscular Control of Movement

(p.165) Chapter 8 Neuromuscular Control of Movement
Animal Locomotion
Andrew A. Biewener, Shelia N. Patek
Oxford University Press

The control of movement is essential for animals traversing complex environments and operating across a range of speeds and gaits. We consider how animals process sensory information and initiate motor responses, primarily focusing on simple motor responses that involve local reflex pathways of feedback and control, rather than the more complex, longer-term responses that require the broader integration of higher centers within the nervous system. We explore how local circuits facilitate decentralized coordination of locomotor rhythm and examine the fundamentals of sensory receptors located in the muscles, tendons, joints, and at the animal’s body surface. These sensors monitor the animal’s physical environment and the action of its muscles. The sensory information is then carried back to the animal’s nervous system by afferent neurons, providing feedback that is integrated at the level of the spinal cord of vertebrates and sensory-motor ganglia of invertebrates.

Keywords:   muscle proprioceptors, sensory neurons, motor neurons, reflexes, motor recruitment, muscle synergies, reciprocal inhibition, central pattern generator

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