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J Exp Zool. 1986 Feb;237(2):191-207.

Development of the masseter muscle and oral behavior in the pig.


During mastication the adult pig masseter contracts with a complex pattern involving a wave of electromyographic (EMG) activity moving from the ventro-rostral corner to the dorso-caudal corner. The present study was undertaken to ascertain the ontogeny of that contraction pattern. Anatomical measurements were made on masseters from fetal, infant, and juvenile pigs. EMG activity from different parts of the masseter was recorded along with oral movements in infant and juvenile pigs as they suckled, drank, and chewed on food and non-food objects. The basic arrangement of muscle fibers and tendinous aponeuroses was found to be the same in all ages. The longest and most vertical fibers were found rostrally and ventrally, whereas the shortest and most horizontal fibers were found caudally and dorsally. The length of fasciculi decreased with age, relative to muscle weight. Variance in length among different parts of the muscle increased with age. Fetal masseters were oriented generally more horizontally than the masseters of older animals, except that the dorso-caudal corner, usually the most horizontal portion, is not developed in fetuses. The contraction patterns within the infant masseter were less complex than those of older animals; only the dorso-caudal corner was distinct. The further development of intramuscular differences in activity may be associated with the increasing anatomical complexity of the masseter, which augments its functional capabilities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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