Document Detail

How does a hopping kangaroo breathe?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21098392     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
We developed a model to demonstrate how a hopping kangaroo breathes. Interestingly, a kangaroo uses less energy to breathe while hopping than while standing still. This occurs, in part, because rather than using muscle power to move air into and out of the lungs, air is pulled into (inspiration) and pushed out of (expiration) the lungs as the abdominal organs "flop" within the kangaroo's body. Specifically, as the kangaroo hops upward, the abdominal organs lag behind, and the insertion of the diaphragm is pulled toward its origin, flattening the dome and increasing the vertical dimension of the thoracic cavity (the thoracic cavity and lungs enlarge). Increasing the volume of the thoracic cavity reduces alveolar pressure below atmospheric pressure (barometric pressure), and air moves into the alveoli by bulk flow. In contrast, the impact of the organs against the diaphragm at each landing causes expiration. Specifically, upon landing, the abdominal organs flop into the diaphragm, causing it to return to its dome shape and decreasing the vertical dimension of the thoracic cavity. This compresses the alveolar gas volume and elevates alveolar pressure above barometric pressure, so air is expelled. To demonstrate this phenomenon, the plunger of a syringe model of the respiratory system was inserted through a compression spring. Holding the syringe and pressing the plunger firmly against a hard surface expels air from the lungs (the balloon within the syringe deflates) and compresses the spring. This models the kangaroo landing after a hop forward. Subsequently, the compression spring provides the energy for the "kangaroo" to "hop" forward upon the release of the syringe, and air enters the lungs (the balloon within the syringe inflates). The model accurately reflects how a hopping kangaroo breathes. A model was chosen to demonstrate this phenomenon because models engage and inspire students as well as significantly enhance student understanding.
Mauricio J Giuliodori; Heidi L Lujan; Hussein Janbaih; Stephen E DiCarlo
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Advances in physiology education     Volume:  34     ISSN:  1522-1229     ISO Abbreviation:  Adv Physiol Educ     Publication Date:  2010 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-11-24     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100913944     Medline TA:  Adv Physiol Educ     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  228-32     Citation Subset:  IM    
Cátedra de Fisiología, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina.
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