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The functional meaning and significance of garrods muscle formula in avian systematics



The functional meaning and significance of garrods muscle formula in avian systematics



Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 61(7): 1023-1029



The muscle formula of avian hind limbs, ABCDEFGMNXYAmV, codes for 12 muscles and 1 tendon structure of the hind limb. The hind limb system comprises 43 muscles in all, but their complete set is present in representatives of the order Galliformes only. The formula comprises the most frequently absent muscles, especially in birds with a specialized type of locomotion. The reduction of certain muscles in such groups reflects a general efficiency of their organization. Simple strengthening of individual muscle groups in birds is impossible due to limitations imposed by the flight. An increase of power of the muscles related to a certain specialization of hind limbs is realized via the reduction of weak monofunctional muscles, often having strong synergists. The most reduced formula is characteristic of the Podicipedidae, Trochilidae, Apodidae, Piciformes, Cuculidae, Trogonidae, Coraciiformes, Falconidae, Pandionidae. The principal taxon characterized by the formula is a family. A more complete formula suggests a more archaic pattern of a family as compared with another one within the same order. In some cases the avian genera and species differ by the formula. Some muscles are characterized by individual variation.

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