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Motor ControlTheories, Experiments, and Applications$
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Frederic Danion, PhD and Mark Latash, PhD

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195395273

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395273.001.0001

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Decoding the Mechanisms of Gait Generation and Gait Transition in the Salamander Using Robots and Mathematical Models

Decoding the Mechanisms of Gait Generation and Gait Transition in the Salamander Using Robots and Mathematical Models

Chapter:
(p.417) 18 Decoding the Mechanisms of Gait Generation and Gait Transition in the Salamander Using Robots and Mathematical Models
Source:
Motor Control
Author(s):

Jeremie Knuesel

Jean-Marie Cabelguen

Auke Ijspeert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395273.003.0018

The spinal mechanisms of gait generation and gait transition in vertebrates are still not properly understood. This chapter explores these mechanisms in the salamander, an amphibian capable of swimming and walking. It reviews the current knowledge of salamander locomotion and the underlying locomotor networks, in particular the central pattern generator (CPG) networks in the spinal cord. It also presents how mathematical models and salamander-like robots are being used to test hypotheses concerning the organization of the CPGs and the mechanism of gait transition. Finally, based on new neurophysiological data, novel hypotheses are formulated concerning the role of sensory feedback in shaping the locomotor patterns. Preliminary modeling experiments are presented, showing how sensory feedback can significantly modify centrally generated patterns. Taken together, the findings suggest that the ability of salamanders to switch between swimming and walking can be explained by a spinal cord circuit that is based on a primitive neural circuit for swimming similar to the one found in the lamprey and that is extended by phylogenetically more recent limb oscillatory centers.

Keywords:   spinal mechanisms, gait generation, gait transition, salamander, swimming, walking, locomotor networks, central pattern generator

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