How fish power swimming

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Science  16 Jul 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5119, pp. 340-343
DOI: 10.1126/science.8332898


It is thought that fish generate the power needed for steady swimming with their anterior musculature, whereas the posterior musculature only transmits forces to the tail and does negative work. Isolated red muscle bundles driven through the length changes and stimulation pattern that muscles normally undergo during steady swimming showed the opposite pattern. Most of the power for swimming came from muscle in the posterior region of the fish, and relatively little came from the anterior musculature. In addition, the contractile properties of the muscle along the length of the fish are significantly adapted to enhance power generation.

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