Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/32

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Mr. Carlisle's Lecture

The blood appears to be the medium of conveying heat to the different parts of the body; and the changes of animal temperature in the same individual at various times, or in its several parts, are always connected with the degree of rapidity of the circulation. It is no very wide stretch of physiological deduction to infer, that this increased temperature is produced by the more frequent exposture of the mass of blood to the respiratory influence, and the short time allowed in each circuit for the loss of the acquired heat.

The blood of an animal is usually coagulated immediately after death, and the muscles are contracted; but, in some peculiar modes of death, neither the one, nor the other of these effects are produced: with such exceptions, the two phenomena are concomitant.

A preternatural increase of animal heat delays the coagulation of the blood, and the last contractions of the muscles: these contractions gradually disappear, before any changes from putrefaction are manifested; but the cup in the coagulum of blood does not relax in the same manner; hence it may be inferred, that the final contraction of muscles is not the coagulation of the blood contained in them; neither is it a change in the reticular membrane, nor in the blood-vessels, because such contractions are not general throughout those substances. The coagulation of the blood is a certain criterion of death. The reiterated visitations of blood are not essential to muscular irritability, because the limbs of animals, separated from the body, continue for a long time afterwards capable of contractions, and relaxations.

The constituent elementary materials of which the peculiar animal and vegetable substances consist, are not separable by