Hind limb extensor muscle architecture reflects locomotor specialisations of a jumping and a striding quadrupedal caviomorph rodent
- 172 Downloads
Muscle architecture is an important factor in determining muscle function. The physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) is directly proportional to the force-generating capacity of a muscle, while fibre length determines the capacity for a muscle’s length change. For a given muscle volume, both parameters cannot be maximised at the same time, and therefore, specialisation in accordance with specific functional demands is widely accepted. Building on this, the architecture of selected hind limb extensor muscles of two caviomorph rodent species of similar body size but with differing locomotor modes were analysed and compared. Individual fascicles of fixed cadavers were carefully removed during stepwise dissection. After removal of each fascicle, the left-behind groove within the muscle belly was digitised to capture the length and orientation of the removed fascicle. Pennation angle, muscle volume, and anatomical cross-sectional area were determined, and finally, PCSA and force-generating capacity were approximated for a hip extensor (M. biceps femoris), a knee extensor (M. vastus lateralis), and an ankle extensor (M. triceps surae). Muscle architecture appeared to reflect locomotor specialisation of a jumping (Chinchilla chinchilla) in comparison with a striding quadrupedal (Cavia porcellus) species, but considerable variability of the limited specimens analysed was found. With the biceps femoris as an exception, analysed specimens of Chinchilla had relatively more voluminous and thus metabolically expensive hind limb extensors with both a greater capacity for length change and for force generation. These results are in agreement with a greater demand for powerful hind limb extension during launches and provide further evidence that muscle architecture is adapted to differing functional demands in closely related species.
KeywordsFascicle Functional morphology Hind limb Mammal Caviomorpha Guinea pig Chinchilla
The authors thank Heiko Stark for his help during various stages of this study. This study received funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Grant No. EXC 1027 “Bild Wissen Gestaltung: ein interdisziplinäres Labor”.
Compliance with ethical standards
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Allen V, Molnar J, Parker W, Pollard A, Nolan G, Hutchinson JR (2014) Comparative architectural properties of limb muscles in Crocodylidae and Alligatoridae and their relevance to divergent use of asymmetrical gaits in extant Crocodylia. J Anat 225(6):569–582CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Biewener AA (2003) Animal locomotion. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Epstein M, Herzog W (1998) Theoretical models of skeletal muscle: biological and mathematical considerations. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
- Gans C, Bock WJ (1964) The functional significance of muscle architecture—a theoretical analysis. Ergebnisse der Anatomie Entwicklungsgeschichte 38:115–142Google Scholar
- Kuznetsov AN (1985) Comparative functional analysis of the fore- and hind limbs in mammals. Zool J Moscow 64:1862–1867Google Scholar
- Nowak RM (1999) Walker’s mammals of the world, 6th edn. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
- Roach N, Kennerly R (2016) Chinchilla chinchilla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (e.T4651A22191157) Google Scholar
- Scholle HC, Schumann NP, Biedermann F, Stegeman DF, Grassme R, Roeleveld K, Schilling N, Fischer MS (2001) Spatiotemporal surface EMG characteristics from rat triceps brachii muscle during treadmill locomotion indicate selective recruitment of functionally distinct muscle regions. Exp Brain Res 138(1):26–36CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Spotorno AE, Manríquez G, Fernández LA, Marín JC, González F, Wheeler J (2007) Domestication of guinea pigs from a southern Peru-northern Chile wild species and their middle pre-Columbian mummies. In: Kelt DA, Lessa EP, Salazar-Bravo J, Patton JL (eds) The Quintessential Naturalist: Honoring the Life and Legacy of Oliver P. Pearson. University of California Publications in Zoology, pp 367–388Google Scholar