Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/29

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17
on muscular Motion.

muscle on the thirteenth. This unsuccessful experiment was made with the hope of ascertaining the changes produced in Water by the respiration of aquatic animals, but the water had not undergone any chemical alteration.

Animals of the class mammalia which hybernate, and become torpid in the winter, have at all times a power of subsisting under a confined respiration, which would destroy other animals not having this peculiar habit. In all the hybernating mammalia there is a peculiar structure of the heart, and its principal veins; the superior cava divides into two trunks; the left, passing over the left auricle of the heart, opens into the inferior part of the right auricle, near to the entrance of the vena cava inferior. The veins usually called azygos, accumulate into two trunks, which open each into the branch of the vena cava superior, on its own side of the thorax. The intercostal arteries and veins in these animals are unusually large.

This tribe of quadrupeds have the habit of rolling up their bodies into the form of a ball during ordinary sleep, and they invariably assume the same attitude when in the torpid state: the limbs are all folded into the hollow made by the bending of the body; the clavicles, or first ribs, and the sternum, are pressed against the fore part of the neck, so as to interrupt the flow of bldod which supplies the head, and to compress the trachea: the abdominal viscera, and the hinder limbs are pushed against the diaphragm, so as to interrupt its motions, and to impede the flow of blood through the large vessels which penetrate it, and the longitudinal extension of the cavity of the thorax is entirely obstructed. Thus a confined circulation of the blood is carried on through the heart, probably

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