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Re: Sauropod drinking

C. Laibly wrote:

>         I remember reading an article in my Princ. of Paleontology course
> concerning a professor who tried testing the plausibiliy of this theory
> (large sauropods breathing while bodily immersed in water). He breathed
> through a hose that would supposedly have given him relative fresh
> air and pressure amouns to deal with as that of a submersed sauropod.
> He died from congestive heart failure in the process. Then again, a
> plesiosaur could breathe. Hmmm. Something to think about...

What makes breathing in water difficult is the external pressure _differential_
between the intake (nostrils) and the lungs. The nostrils are in air at normal
atmospheric pressure of 14.7psi.  The lungs -- well, the pressure on them
depends on how deep underwater they are, and how dense the water is.  As a
general rule of thumb, the pressure increases one atmosphere for every ten
meters of water.  A mere five feet of water, about 2.5psi of added pressure
differential, is more than the average human's lungs can overcome.  Anything
that wants to breathe with its nose at the surface and its lungs ten or twenty
feet down had better have Brobdignagian lung muscles.

-- JSW