MadSci Network: Evolution

Re: why does the process of respiration happen the way it does?

Date: Thu May 29 12:39:48 2003
Posted By: Justin Miller, student
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 1052766668.Ev

Hi, Carl.

At first, I thought that finding an answer to your question was going to be
like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.  However, I've run across
some information dealing with nitric oxide and oxygen respiration that
might at least point you in the right direction.

A recent (2002) study by Timothy McMahon, et al. at Duke University points
to nitric oxide as sort of a control mechanism for the distribution of
oxygen throughout the body.  That may not seem relevant at first, but when
you realize that over 70% of the atmosphere is nitrogen, it might become a
little clearer.

True, this may not be exactly the answer you were looking for, but at least
this could be an answer to a related question:  Why don't we breathe
nitrogen instead of oxygen, since nitrogen is the more prevalent gas in our

I hope this was of help.  If I were you, I'd also read the URL I listed as
a source, since it goes into great detail about the subject at hand.

Justin Miller
Geneva College


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