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The number of muscles in the body is actually fairly close to the number required to control completely all its degrees of freedom. The apparent need for a coordinating principle arises from the experimental practice of asking subjects to perform simple movements and assuming that they make no implicit assumptions about other constraints. Natural activities include implicit constraints that differ greatly for different tasks and circumstances and that would be met best by a nervous system free of a priori principles.
The author is with the MRC Group in Sensory-Motor Neuroscience at Queen's University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada.