Human divers need to resurface very slowly to avoid dangerous 'gas embolisms' which lead to decompression sickness (a.k.a. The Bends).
Deep-diving animals - e.g. whales, dolphins, turtles (and some birds) etc do not suffer the same problems (or very rarely do). There is currently no explanation.
A 2018 paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B reviews the current research and suggest a possible mechanism.
While exposure to high pressure is a common challenge among breath-hold divers, there is large variation in respiratory anatomy, function and capacity between genera and even species. The ultra-deep-diving feats of some marine mammals go beyond our current understanding of respiratory physiology and lung mechanics.“
See : 'Pulmonary ventilation–perfusion mismatch: a novel hypothesis for how diving vertebrates may avoid the bends'
Some birds - e.g. the Thick-billed_murre can dive as deep as 200m. On rapid resurfacing, they apparently suffer no ill effects. A 1992 study published in the ESA journal suggested that such birds may have some special as-yet-unknown lung structure or chemical surfactant at work.
Note: Although not strictly 'diving', it's known that the Nautilus (mollusc) can somehow withstand rapid pressure changes of 80 standard atmospheres (1,200 psi), remaining apparently unharmed when brought to the surface.
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)
You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma
Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.
Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.