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- DescriptionThe comparative physiology of seemingly disparate organisms often serves as a surprising pathway to biological enlightenment. How appropriate, then, that Robert Elsner sheds new light on the remarkable physiology of diving seals through comparison with members of our own species on quests toward enlightenment: meditating yogis. As Elsner reveals, survival in extreme conditions such as those faced by seals is often t about running for cover or coming up for air, but rather about working within the confines of an environment and suppressing rmal bodily function. Animals in this withdrawn state display reduced resting metabolic rates and are temporarily less dependent upon customary levels of oxygen. For diving seals - creatures especially well-adapted to prolonged submersion in the ocean's cold depths-such periods of rest lengthen dive endurance. But while human divers share modest, brief adjustments of suppressed metabolism with diving seals, it is the practiced response achieved during deep meditation that is characterized by metabolic rates well below rmal levels, sometimes even approaching those of n-exercising diving seals. And the comparison does t end here: hibernating animals, infants during birth, near-drowning victims, and clams at low tide all also display similarly reduced metabolisms. By investigating these states - and the regulatory functions that help maintain them-across a range of species, Elsner offers suggestive insight into the linked biology of survival and well-being.
- Author BiographyRobert Elsner is professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who studies the physiology of marine mammals. He is coauthor of Diving and Asphycia: A Comparative Study of Animals and Man.
- Author(s)Robert Elsner
- PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
- Date of Publication19/05/2015
- SubjectLife Sciences: Zoology
- Place of PublicationChicago, IL
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Chicago Press
- Content Note7 halftones, 14 line drawings
- Weight408 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine23 mm
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