Muscle is a soft tissue of animals. Muscle cells contain protein filaments that slide past one another, producing a contraction that changes both the length and the shape of the cell. Muscles function to produce force and cause motion. They are primarily responsible for maintenance of and changes in posture, locomotion of the organism itself, as well as movement of internal organs, such as the contraction of the heart and movement of food through the digestive system via peristalsis.
Muscle tissues are derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Cardiac and smooth muscle contraction occurs without conscious thought and is necessary for survival. Voluntary contraction of the skeletal muscles is used to move the body and can be finely controlled. Examples are movements of the eye, or gross movements like the quadriceps muscle of the thigh.
Muscles are predominantly powered by the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates, but anaerobic chemical reactions are also used, particularly by fast twitch fibers. These chemical reactions produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules which are used to power the movement of the myosin heads.
The term muscle is derived from the Latin musculus meaning "little mouse" perhaps because of the shape of certain muscles or because contracting muscles look like mice moving under the skin.
Famous quotes containing the word muscles:
Flashed from his matted head and marble feet,
He grappled at the net
With the coiled, hurdling muscles of his thighs:
The corpse was bloodless, a botch of reds and whites,”
—Robert Lowell (19171977)
“All of this,
and the curious knee-cap,
fitted above the wrought greaves,
and the sharp muscles of your back
which the tunic could not cover.”
—Hilda Doolittle (18861961)
“What is this beast, she thought,
with muscles on his arms
like a bag of snakes?
What is this moss on his legs?
What prickly plant grows on his cheeks?
What is this voice as deep as a dog?”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)