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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter compares the development of spinal cord locomotor networks controlling limb movements in precocial species, such as the chick, which are able to walk soon after birth, and altricial species, such as rodents and humans, which are quite immature at birth. Interestingly, both chicks and rodents undergo a 21-day embryonic period. The chapter starts by looking at the two kinds of motor patterns that spinal cord networks are able to generate in vitro: “fictive locomotion,” which is similar to locomotion observed in vivo, and endogenously generated spontaneous activity, which plays a key role in motor development. The chapter then underscores some of the mechanisms that may account for the different locomotor abilities of precocial and altricial species at birth.

Keywords: spinal cord, locomotor networks, limb movements, precocial species, chick, altricial species, rodents, embryonic period, motor patterns, fictive locomotion

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