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Human locomotion

6.5 Human locomotion (ESG8M)

Locomotion refers to the ability to move. Specifically, it refers to the way in which organisms travel from one place to another. Examples of types of locomotion include running, swimming, jumping or flying. Human locomotion is achieved by the use of our limbs. Below we discuss the major organs and structures that bring about movement in humans.

Figure 6.28: A marathon event in progress: this locomotion is facilitated by the skeletal framework described in this section.

Watch this video and learn about the amazing ways that human bones, muscles and tendons have adapted for long-distance running.

Video: 2CT6

The structures used during locomotion include:

  1. Bones provide the body's supporting structure. They provide the framework that help maintain the body's shape and provide a surface for the attachment of muscles.
  2. Joints are points of contact between individual bones. They allow bones to move against and past each other to enable movement.
  3. Ligaments connect bones the ends of bones together in order to form a joint. Most ligaments limit dislocation, or prevent certain movements that could form breaks. They hold bones in place so that they work in a coordinated manner.
  4. Tendons connect muscle to bone. They transfer the force generated by muscle contraction into movement of the skeleton.
  5. Muscles work in antagonist pairs to cause bones to move. Muscles are attached to bone via the tendon. Therefore as the muscle contracts, the bone moves.