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Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

What are the key evolutionary adaptations that diving mammals use to survive at significant ocean depths?

Summary Introduction

To review:

The key evolutionary adaptations that diving mammals use to survive at significant ocean depths.

Introduction:

The partial pressure of dissolved gases increases by about one atmosphere with each additional 10 meters of depth. The pressure is too high below 25 meters where the mammals cannot survive, but mammals that dive have some adaptations, which help them to survive in such extreme pressure.

Explanation

There are some evolutionary adaptations that diving mammals use to survive at significant ocean depths:

1. They have more blood per unit of body weight and more red blood cells, which are stored in the spleen and are released into the blood during the dive. These red blood cells allow binding of more oxygen to hemoglobin in order to supply it to the brain cells.

2. The muscles of these animals contain greater quantities of myoglobin than the muscles of land-dwelling animals. This adaptation helps these animals to store two times more oxygen than that of other land-dwelling animals...

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