Featured Image Credit: http://www.dive-the-world.com/creatures-dolphins.php
By: Sarah Sharkey
If you are familiar with diving, then you know that humans can have all sorts of problems when it comes to resurfacing. In the worst-case scenario, a dive can get the bends. Basically, that means a nitrogen air bubble formed in the bloodstream, these air bubbles can expand and get stuck in vital organs or joints. Obviously, that is a huge problem. Divers have been wrestling with different ways of dealing with this since diving started. Other marine mammals do not seem to have the same problems we have, but why?
Apparently, it comes down to a mysterious network of veins throughout their bodies. The vessels are called the thoracic rate, but the structures have mostly baffled scientists until this point.
Recently an anatomist, Joy Reidenberg, figured out what the mysterious veins are for. It seems like their function is to combat the lethal decompression sickness that can be so devastating to humans. The thoracic rete basically siphons off dissolved gas that has made its way into the bloodstream and keeps them away from important organs until the animal reaches the surface and the gases can be exhaled. The function is a truly amazing feat of evolution, but is it feasible to copy this function into a human diver?
For now, the answer is maybe, there is a bulky prototype in the works. However, most divers will be hesitant to try it out. Possibly in the future, this knowledge can be combined with better technology and allow humans to dive deeper.
Learn more from our source.