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How do marine mammals hold their breath ?

Posted on Sunday, 16 June, 2013 | Comment icon 2 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: CC 3.0 Avenue/Wiki

 
Scientists may have solved how marine mammals are able to hold their breath for up to an hour.

Dolphins, seals and other marine mammals have adapted to spending large amounts of time underwater despite being air breathers. The key to this ability appears to be myoglobin which is a protein able to store oxygen within muscles. Special properties within myoglobin allow it to be stored in large amounts without clogging up the works.

"At high enough concentrations, [proteins] tend to stick together, so we tried to understand how seals and whales evolved higher and higher concentrations of this protein in their muscles without a loss of function," said Dr Michael Berenbrink.

"Scientists say they have solved the mystery of one of the most extreme adaptations in the animal kingdom: how marine mammals store enough oxygen to hold their breath for up to an hour."

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 Source: BBC News


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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by xsas on 17 June, 2013, 8:45
Scientists from the University of Liverpool have published research that explains how marine mammals, including seals and whales, hold their breath for so long.The research reveals how the oxygen-storing capacity of mammals muscles has been changed by millions of years of evolution. The videos above show how a highly trained free-diver compares in breath-holding ability to a common seal. And here we explore some of the most extreme examples of breath-holding in the animal kingdom and how they match up with record-breaking human free-divers. View: Read more
Comment icon #2 Posted by coolguy on 26 June, 2013, 4:48
My pet conure holds his breath when he takes his bath lol


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