Biologists have identified a molecular signature, in the oxygen-binding protein myoglobin, in the blood of Sperm Whales, enables them to dive for 90 minutes. Image © wikimedia
Biologists at the University of Manitoba and the University of Liverpool, believe the sperm whale has an adapted protein in its blood, helps them carry more oxygen and hold its breath underwater for up to 90 minute.
According to Dailymail, Biologist Kevin Campbell says that: “essentially, the proteins become more electronically charged which forces them to repel each other.”
‘The trick, it appears, is to evolve a protein with a strong positive surface charge.
‘The resulting molecular repulsion allows the oxygen-storing myoglobin of divers to accrue in much higher concentrations.”
Leader Michael Berenbrink from the University of Liverpool, said:
“By mapping this molecular signature onto the family tree of mammals, we were able to reconstruct the muscle oxygen stores in extinct ancestors of today’s diving mammals.”