Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 170, Issue 3, pp 303–309 | Cite as

Jaw movement kinematics and jaw muscle (EMG) activity during drinking in the pigeon (Columba livia)

  • R. Bermejo
  • M. Remy
  • H. P. Zeigler


Movements of the maxilla and mandible were recorded during drinking in the head-fixed pigeon and correlated with electromyographic activity in representative jaw muscle groups. During drinking, each jaw exhibits opening and closing movements along both the dorso-ventral and rostro-caudal axes which may be linked with or independent of each other. All subjects showed small but systematic increases in cycle duration over the course of individual drinking bouts. Cyclic jaw movements during drinking were correlated with nearly synchronous activity in the protractor (levator) of the upper jaw and in several jaw closer muscles, as well as with alternating activity in tongue protractor and retractor muscles. No EMG activity was ever recorded in the lower jaw opener muscle, suggesting that lower jaw opening in this preparation is produced, indirectly, by the contraction of other muscles. The results clarify the contribution of the individual jaws to the generation of gape variations during drinking in this species.

Key words

Drinking Electromyography Jaw movements Jaw muscle Pigeon 



adductor mandibulae externus muscle


depressor mandibulae muscle




geniohyoideus muscle


lower beak


light-emitting diode


protractor quadrati et pterygoidei muscle


pterygoideus ventralis muscle, pars lateralis


serpihyoideus or stylohyoideus muscle


upper beak


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Bermejo
    • 1
  • M. Remy
    • 1
  • H. P. Zeigler
    • 1
  1. 1.Biopsychology Program, Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew York CityUSA

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