Muscle and sarcomere lengths in the hind limb of the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) during a galloping stride

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Abstract

Rabbits were filmed galloping, and the length changes of the principal hind limb muscles were determined. Sarcomere lengths were measured in carcasses set by rigor mortis in four of the positions adopted during a stride. These sarcomere lengths were measured by means of a diffraction technique, devised for the purpose, using an ordinary microscope. Expected sarcomere lengths for three of the positions were predicted from that observed in the fourth, together with muscle length changes. A theoretical length-tension curve for rabbit muscle was constructed, using A and I filament lengths, it was shown that when the muscles were active, their sarcomere lengths corresponded to the plateau of the length-tension curve.

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