Leg muscles that mediate stability: mechanics and control of two distal extensor muscles during obstacle negotiation in the guinea fowl
Daley, M. A.
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CitationDaley, M. A., and A. A. Biewener. 2011. “Leg Muscles That Mediate Stability: Mechanics and Control of Two Distal Extensor Muscles During Obstacle Negotiation in the Guinea Fowl.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366 (1570) (April 18): 1580–1591. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0338.
AbstractHere, we used an obstacle treadmill experiment to investigate the neuromuscular control of locomotion in uneven terrain. We measured in vivo function of two distal muscles of the guinea fowl, lateral gastrocnemius (LG) and digital flexor-IV (DF), during level running, and two uneven terrains, with 5 and 7 cm obstacles. Uneven terrain required one step onto an obstacle every four to five strides. We compared both perturbed and unperturbed strides in uneven terrain to level terrain. When the bird stepped onto an obstacle, the leg became crouched, both muscles acted at longer lengths and produced greater work, and body height increased. Muscle activation increased on obstacle strides in the LG, but not the DF, suggesting a greater reflex contribution to LG. In unperturbed strides in uneven terrain, swing preactivation of DF increased by 5 per cent compared with level terrain, suggesting feed-forward tuning of leg impedance. Across conditions, the neuromechanical factors in work output differed between the two muscles, probably due to differences in muscle–tendon architecture. LG work depended primarily on fascicle length, whereas DF work depended on both length and velocity during loading. These distal muscles appear to play a critical role in stability by rapidly sensing and responding to altered leg–ground interaction.
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