How sea mammals hold their breath
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.
The team studied myoglobin, an oxygen-storing protein in mammals' muscles and found that, in whales and seals, it has special "non-stick" properties.
This allowed the animals to pack huge amounts of oxygen into their muscles without "clogging them up".
Their findings are published in the journal Science.
Victoria Gill reports.
14 Jun 2013
- From the section Science & Environment