Guide Stress - The Dinosaurs Breath

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When the dinosaurs expired it was simply because they ran out of breath. This latest They blame extreme respiratory stress for the reduction.
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In young warm-blooded animals today, fast-growing bone invades connective tissue so quickly that it traps the fibers and blood vessels already there in a dense, intricate weave. As that bone matures, channels known as haversian canals appear, in which specialized cells destroy old bone and replace it with new material. And since fast growth naturally required a high metabolic rate to fuel it, such an animal had to be endothermic.

Bones of cold-blooded animals also often contain growth rings much like the annual growth rings of trees. As in trees, they mark the periods when the animals slowed their growth or stopped it altogether. De Ricqles argued that the dinosaur bones he examined had the same pattern of canals as birds and mammals, with none of the growth rings of reptiles. Thus, he concluded, dinosaurs were probably warm-blooded. Actually, by the s De Ricqles had modified his theory. Not all paleontologists bought the equation.

The funny thing is that when I started my research, I believed De Ricqles, Owerkowicz says, shaking his head and shrugging.


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But when he first arrived in the United States, the Polish-born physiologist did not question authority. I come from a very strong Catholic family and a Communist country, where you were taught to believe what you read, he says. And in a way that was good. But I think he took it a little too far.

What De Ricqles had not done, and what Crompton encouraged Owerkowicz to do, was test the idea experimentally in living animals--both endotherms and ectotherms. In , Owerkowicz began acquiring savanna monitor lizards, including Golden Eye, as well as hedgehogs and ground squirrels. He chose the animals in part because they are about the same size. A mouse and an elephant are both warm-blooded, yet the mouse, with a much larger surface area compared with its mass, has a much higher metabolic rate.

He also chose his animals because they were at three distinct points on the warm- to-cold-blooded spectrum. The ectothermic lizards were at one end, the endothermic ground squirrels at the other, and the hedgehogs were close to the middle: although they are endotherms, they consume oxygen at a very low rate for a warm-blooded animal. Owerkowicz divided each species into a sedentary, couch potato set and a workout crew. All lived with the same light and heat, which was enough for the lizards to maintain a constant body temperature.

For six months, he exercised each animal in the workout group for 20 minutes every day, blasting away the boredom with loud Polish rock music Budka Suflera is a favorite group. Every six weeks he gave couch potatoes and workout crew alike an injection of fluorescent dye. As the animals subsequently formed new bone, some of the dye was deposited within the crystals of the bone.

At the same time, Owerkowicz could tell which regions of bone tissue were the result of new growth and which the result of simple remodeling. To see this scale, unfortunately, it was necessary, as Owerkowicz puts it, to bump the animals off. Afterward, he sealed the bones in plastic, placed each one in a vise, and with a diamond-blade saw sliced it into one-millimeter-thick cross sections, which he fixed on slides. After months of nudging animals on treadmills and slicing up their bones, Owerkowicz now has a stack of neatly labeled slide boxes, whose contents hold a challenge for De Ricqles and the warm-blooded dinosaur school that relies on his methods.

This is a femur of a hedgehog, he says. I gave it four dye injections-- greenish yellow, red, orange, and then another greenish yellow. Under the microscope, the thin section looks like an oval of spun crystal. Owerkowicz discovered that the differences between the bones of different animals were nowhere near as dramatic as one might assume. When I compared the femurs and humeri of my exercised species, I found that the deposition rate of bone was similar, he says.

Nor was there a difference in the growth rates of the bones of the sedentary animals.

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When I kept my lizards at 95 degrees, they grew at the same rate as the hedgehogs, even though their resting metabolic rate is five times lower, which tells me their enzymes are capable of working just as fast, he says. The only clear distinction he could draw, in fact, was between the exercised and unexercised animals.

The ones that ran on a treadmill had bones packed with haversian canals--regardless of whether they were warm- blooded or cold. But exercise does. When an animal exercises, he points out, its bones are strained and stressed. Since they are made of an elastic material, they can generally withstand these forces, but occasionally they yield to fatigue and form a tiny stress fracture.

That relieves the strain, but if the loading continues, it can lead to a full fracture, says Owerkowicz.

Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response

The bone needs to remove that microcrack and put new bone in its place. This is the role of remodeling. Bone that is dense with haversian canals, therefore, tells you that the animal was active. The close study of dinosaur bones, Owerkowicz concludes, can never be the smoking gun paleontologists once hoped it would be. It might tell them about how dinosaurs grew, and how their bone tissues changed while they were growing, and whether they were active or not.

Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response - Harvard Health

While bone tissue may not answer the riddle of the dinosaurs, the shapes of the bones might. These were features, he claims, that dinosaur paleontologists have missed because they often know little about animal physiology-- particularly the physiology of reptiles. I tell you, doing this research is like taking candy from a baby. Ruben and a former graduate student, Willem Hillenius, who now teaches at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, found that the noses of living animals could tell you a lot about their metabolism.

Ninety-nine percent of warm-blooded animals have coils of membrane-covered cartilage or bone in their nasal passages called respiratory turbinates.

The function of these structures was first discovered in in desert kangaroo rats, and for a long time researchers thought they were useful only to mammals living in arid conditions. When such animals breathe out moist, warm air from their lungs, much of the water condenses onto the cooler turbinates. The animals then breathe in the dry desert air, which picks up the water on the turbinates and brings it back down to the lungs. Yet almost all mammals and birds have turbinates, not just the ones that live in deserts.

Hillenius and Ruben therefore think that turbinates are useful for endothermy in any habitat.

Mammals and birds need turbinates, the researchers say, because they consume oxygen at a rate nearly 20 times that of similar-size reptiles in order to fan the fires of their internal heaters. Those high metabolic rates are expensive, says Ruben. They cost a lot in food and oxygen to maintain.

Last gasp for the dinosaurs | New Scientist

Herbert Benson. The relaxation response is a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation. Breath focus is a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response. The first step is learning to breathe deeply. Deep breathing also goes by the names of diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises. For many of us, deep breathing seems unnatural.

There are several reasons for this. For one, body image has a negative impact on respiration in our culture. A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women and men tend to hold in their stomach muscles. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow "chest breathing" seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety. Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm's range of motion.

The lowest part of the lungs doesn't get a full share of oxygenated air. That can make you feel short of breath and anxious. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure. Breath focus helps you concentrate on slow, deep breathing and aids you in disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations.

Recer, P. Ruben, J.


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