For first time, scientists watch entire animal’s muscle sy

Researchers at Columbia University and the University of Chicago-affiliated Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have

mapped the full-body muscular activity of an animal while it was moving and behaving, for the first time in the world.

In the study, the researchers watched the patterns of muscle activity in a small aquatic animal called a hydraas. Based on prior su

ccess in mapping full-body neural activity in hydra, they pinpointed seven distinct patterns of hydra’s muscle act

ivity this time, according to a news release posted on the website of the University of Chicago on Thursday.

Hydra are freshwater organisms, only a few millimeters in length, and be

long to the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes jellyfish and coral. Their tubular bodies are c

omprised of two layers of muscle, each composed of a different cell type and separated by two nerve nets

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