When a person dies, muscles become rigid and fixed in position—a condition known as rigor. Rigor mortis occurs because muscle cells are no longer supplied with ATP (when breathing stops, ATP synthesis ceases). Calcium also flows freely into dying cells. The rigor eventually disappears because the biological molecules break down. Explain, in terms of the mechanism of contraction described in Modules 30.9 and 30.10, why the presence of calcium and the lack of ATP would cause muscles to become rigid, rather than limp, soon after death.
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