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This content will become publicly available on August 25, 2022

Title: A neck-like vertebral motion in fish
Tetrapods use their neck to move the head three-dimensionally, relative to the body and limbs. Fish lack this anatomical neck, yet during feeding many species elevate (dorsally rotate) the head relative to the body. Cranial elevation is hypothesized to result from the craniovertebral and cranial-most intervertebral joints acting as a neck, by dorsally rotating (extending). However, this has never been tested due to the difficulty of visualizing and measuring vertebral motion in vivo . I used X-ray reconstruction of moving morphology to measure three-dimensional vertebral kinematics in rainbow trout ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ) and Commerson's frogfish ( Antennarius commerson ) during feeding. Despite dramatically different morphologies, in both species dorsoventral rotations extended far beyond the craniovertebral and cranial intervertebral joints. Trout combine small (most less than 3°) dorsal rotations over up to a third of their intervertebral joints to elevate the neurocranium. Frogfish use extremely large (often 20–30°) rotations of the craniovertebral and first intervertebral joint, but smaller rotations occurred across two-thirds of the vertebral column during cranial elevation. Unlike tetrapods, fish rotate large regions of the vertebral column to rotate the head. This suggests both cranial and more caudal vertebrae should be considered to understand how non-tetrapods control motion more » at the head–body interface. « less
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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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