Press Esc to close
Monday 20 October 2014
News updated at 11:09 PM IST
Weather
Max: 30.8°C
Min : 20.1°C
In Bangalore
Sunny day

Dolphins decompress like humans

Last updated: 15 October, 2011
London, Oct 15 (PTI)

Researchers have confirmed what many biologists have long suspected -- dolphins avoid the bends by taking long, shallow decompression dives after feeding at depth.

A team, led by Michael Moore at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, has based its findings on tiny bubbles which it has found beneath the blubber of dolphins that beached themselves, the 'Proceedings of the Royal Society B' reported.

The bubbles were discovered by taking ultrasound scans of the animals within minutes of stranding off Cape Cod in the US.

Many biologists believe that marine mammals do not struggle, as human divers do, with decompression sickness -- "the bends" -- when ascending from great depths.


In humans, breathing air at the comparatively high pressures delivered by scuba equipment causes more nitrogen to be absorbed into the blood and the body's tissues, and this nitrogen comes back out as divers ascend.

But marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and seals are highly adept at dealing with the pressures of the deep.

They slow their hearts, collapse the tiny air-filled chambers in their lungs, and channel blood to essential organs -- like the brain -- to conserve oxygen, and limit the build- up of nitrogen bubbles in the blood that happens at depth.

However, Moore thinks it is "naive" to think that diving mammals do not also struggle with these laws of chemistry.

If dolphins, he explained, come up too quickly then there is evidence that they "grab another gulp of air and go back down again", in much the same way a human diver would "re-tank and re-ascend" to try to prevent the bends.

"But there's one place you can't do that (if you are a dolphin) and that's sitting on the beach," he was quoted by the 'BBC' as saying.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Army recruits during their attestation parade at Madras Regimental Centre, Wellington, Ooty on...

Army recruits during their attestation parade at Madras Regimental Centre, Wellington, Ooty on...

In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 photo, a Kashmiri woman blocks a road during a protest demanding...

In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 photo, a Kashmiri woman blocks a road during a protest demanding...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 42nd Convocation of the All India Institute of Medical...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 42nd Convocation of the All India Institute of Medical...

Devendra Fadnavis hugs his mother Savita after his victory during the Assembly election in...

Devendra Fadnavis hugs his mother Savita after his victory during the Assembly election in...

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitaraman launching the Online Export...

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitaraman launching the Online Export...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah after the party's parliamentary...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah after the party's parliamentary...

In this Oct. 17, 2014 photo, a thick blanket of smoke is seen against the setting sun as...

In this Oct. 17, 2014 photo, a thick blanket of smoke is seen against the setting sun as...

In this Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 photo, an Indian woman uses her hand to put sawdust in an...

In this Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 photo, an Indian woman uses her hand to put sawdust in an...

(L-R) Asha Bhat, Miss Diva Universe 2014 2nd runner up, Noyonita Lodh, Miss Diva Universe 2014...

(L-R) Asha Bhat, Miss Diva Universe 2014 2nd runner up, Noyonita Lodh, Miss Diva Universe 2014...

An Indian man teaches yoga postures to schoolchildren at Delhi Public School in Hyderabad...

An Indian man teaches yoga postures to schoolchildren at Delhi Public School in Hyderabad...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523