Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/16

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Mr. Carlisle's Lecture

irritable limb sustained a weight one-sixth heavier than the dead limb.

It may be remarked, in confirmation of these experiments, that when muscles act more powerfully, or more rapidly, than is equal to the strength of the sustaining parts, they do not usually rupture their fleshy fibres, but break their tendons, or even an intervening bone, as in the instances of ruptured tendo Achillis, and fractured patella. Instances have however occurred, wherein the fleshy bellies of muscles have been lacerated by spasmodic actions; as in tetanus the recti abdominis have been torn asunder, and the gastrocnemii in cramps; but in those examples it seems that either the antagonists produce the effect, or the over-excited parts tear the less excited in the same muscle. From whence it may be inferred, that the attraction of cohesion in the matter of muscle is considerably greater during the act of contracting, than during the passive state of tone, or irritable quiescence, a fact which has been always assumed by anatomists from the determinate forces which muscles exert.

The muscular parts of different classes of animals vary in colour and texture, and not unfrequently those variations occur in the same individual.

The muscles of fishes and vermes are often colourless, those of the mammalia and birds being always red: the amphibia, the accipenser, and squalus genera, have frequently both red and colourless muscles in the same animal.

Some birds, as the black game,[1] have the external pectoral muscles of a deep red colour, whilst the internal are pale.

In texture, the fasciculi vary in thickness, and the reticular

  1. Tetrao tetrix. Lin.