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Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 13:41:17 -0500 (EST)
Sender: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu
Precedence: bulk
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: pleurocoels

To the best of my knowledge, an air-filled space within the body of a
living animal would have to be connected to the external environment in
order to stay open.  The air in a closed space would eventually be
reabsorbed, primarily because the respiratory quotient (ratio of CO2
production to O2 consumption) is less than 1.0 on a mixed diet of protein,
carbohydrates, and lipids.  The oxygen consumed from the air bubble or
air space would not be replaced by CO2, and the volume of the bubble
would steadily decrease.  The nitrogen partial pressure would increase,
and this gas would be absorbed into the tissues as well.  For an air
bubble introduced into soft tissue, collapse would be the final result.  For
air within a space with relatively rigid walls (a cavity within a bone, the
chest cavity in an organism with a collapsed lung) replacement of the air
with fluid would be the final outcome.  Only if the space were connected
to the external air, maintaining the O2 and CO2 concentrations and
keeping the pressure at atmospheric, will the cavity remain open.

James M. Norton, Ph.D.
University of New England
11 Hill's Beach Road
Biddeford, ME  04005
phone: [207]283-0171 x2270
fax: [207]283-3249
email: jnorton@mailbox.une.edu