Can Underwater Animals Adapt to High Pressures to Avoid The Bends?

FALMOUTH- It has often been assumed that mammals living underwater could not contract the deadly condition commonly known to scuba divers as the bends.

This assumption, up until recently, has now been debunked. With that being said however, wildlife officials at the Woods Hole Oceanographic institution have pointed out that mammals have, throughout evolution, created ways to overcome the condition.

In a study, WHOI and other researchers took CAT scan images of deceased seals, dolphins, and a domestic pig, that had been pressurized in a hyperbaric chamber. The results found that as one lung filled with air, the other collapsed.

When looking at marine mammals chests structures however, they have found that pulmonary regions that say acted slightly different to allow them to compress their lungs, this is so oxygen bubbles do not form in their blood, causing crippling defects.

For more info on this story, you can visit www.whoi.edu.

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