Animal movement is often complex, unsteady and variable. The critical role of muscles in animal movement has captivated scientists for over 300 years. Despite this, emerging techniques and ideas are still shaping and advancing the field. For example, sonomicrometry and ultrasound techniques have enhanced our ability to quantify muscle length changes under in vivo conditions. Robotics and musculoskeletal models have benefited from improved computational tools and have enhanced our ability to understand muscle function in relation to movement by allowing one to simulate muscle-tendon dynamics under realistic conditions. The past decade, in particular, has seen a rapid advancement in technology and shifts in paradigms related to muscle function. In addition, there has been an increased focus on muscle function in relation to the complex locomotor behaviours, rather than relatively simple (and steady) behaviours. Thus, this Theme Issue will explore integrative aspects of muscle function in relation to diverse locomotor behaviours such as swimming, jumping, hopping, running, flying, moving over obstacles and transitioning between environments. Studies of walking and running have particular relevance to clinical aspects of human movement and sport. This Theme Issue includes contributions from scientists working on diverse taxa, ranging from humans to insects. In addition to contributions addressing locomotion in various taxa, several manuscripts will focus on recent advances in neuromuscular control and modulation during complex behaviours. Finally, some of the contributions address recent advances in biomechanical modelling and powered prostheses. We hope that our comprehensive and integrative Theme Issue will form the foundation for future work in the fields of neuromuscular mechanics and locomotion.
Higham, Timothy EBiewener, Andrew ADelp, Scott LengIntroductoryEngland2011/04/20 06:00Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 May 27;366(1570):1463-5. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0354.