Variability as a characteristic of immature motor systems: an electromyographic study of swimming in the newborn rat.

J.R. Cazalets, I. Menard, J. Crémieux, F. Clarac
Behavioural Brain Research. 1990-11-01; 40(3): 215-225
DOI: 10.1016/0166-4328(90)90078-s

Swimming behaviour was studied in neonate rats by carrying out electromyographic recordings. The study showed that the early swimming pattern was characterized by highly instable temporal parameters. A decrease was found to occur with age in the variability of the instantaneous period in each leg and in that of the antiphase pattern. Moreover, a dissociation occurred during development between the foreleg and the backleg activity. While patterns involving the forelegs always remained extremely instable, a considerable improvement was found to occur with time in the hindlimb activity.

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