limits to muscle-driven motion
Movement is essential for all animals, and muscle is what drives animal movement. What muscle can and cannot do is thus a fundamental question in zoology. A mechanical perspective on movement makes it amenable to analysis from first principles, and so brings the seeming certainty of simple physical “laws” to the challenging comparative study of complex biological systems. We try to develop such a perspective to improve our understanding of the shared and distinguishing constraints faced by animals across body sizes and ecological niches.
To study the physical limits to muscle-driven motion, we try our best to use simple (it’s all relative…) analytical approaches, to develop a strong conceptual understanding and retain interpretability and generalisability. To this end, we typically combine dimensional arguments with scaling analyses and energy landscapes. From time to time, we wander deeper into complexities introduced by muscle physiology.