Lizard breath has surprising birdlike flow

Decades of assumptions wrong about what happens inside the reptile’s lungs

By Susan Milius, 15:28 PM December 11, 2013

A monitor lizard ignores the textbook explanations of how it should breathe and instead it whooshes air through its lungs in a one-way flow, just as birds do.

As mammals breathe, air flows like a tide into the lungs and then back out through the same tubes. Birds also move air in and out of their mouths and noses. But inside their lungs, birds route air in one direction only. Lizards, in theory, had tidal lungs like mammals. Rethinking that upsets ideas about lung evolution.

Sensors implanted i...

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