Optimization of the mechanical performance of a two-duct semicircular duct system. Part 3. The positioning of the ducts in the head

M. Muller, J.H.G. Verhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the majority of vertebrates, the horizontal duct of the vestibular system lies approximately in the yawing plane of the head. The positioning of the vertical ducts, however, is not in the pitch- and roll planes but the vertical ducts generally lie under an angle of about 30–45° relative to the medial plane. Using the equations for a hydrodynamically interconnected two-duct system, optimal positions of the vertical and horizontal ducts in different vertebrate groups can be derived. It was stated that the mean response of the vertical ducts should be optimized. This leads to a symmetrical positioning of the vertical ducts with respect to the medial plane. In all observed vertebrate groups, a solution of =(-/2 is found ( is the angle of the vertical ducts relative to the medial plane, is the angle between the vertical duct planes). For =90°, this provides an equal sensitivity for pitch- and roll- movements. For >90°, a larger sensitivity for pitch movements is obtained, at the expense of a lower sensitivity for roll movements. It is argued that the angle between the vertical ducts may vary from 90 to 120°. In most vertebrates, the centre of mass is stabilized by e.g. fins, tri- or quadrupedal stability, a crawling body or upside-down resting positions (e.g. bats). Birds are generally biped, so in walking they are also rather sensitive to roll. These features are related to labyrinth positioning in the head.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-459
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume216
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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