The isolated lamprey spinal cord, when bathed in 2 millimolar D-glutamic acid, will generate a pattern of motor neuron discharge that has generally been assumed to represent the central motor program for swimming. Motion pictures of behaving lampreys were analyzed by a computer algorithm to estimate undulatory movement parameters that could be directly compared with those generated during D-glutamate--induced undulations. The D-glutamate--induced movement parameters were significantly different from those observed during normal behaviors, including swimming, but accurately predicted the undulations produced by spinally transected adult lampreys.

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