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."
View: Full article | Source: BBC News
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