Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New insights into the origin of air breathing

It is fairly well established that the common ancestor of tetrapods and bony fish had air-breathing lungs, but no one really knows how air-breathing really evolved in the first place. This study shows that lampreys have neural circuitry for detecting  carbon dioxide and 'coughing' water out of their lungs when it gets too high. This would be a prerequisite for a tidal breathing system.

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