Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 138, Issue 4, pp 321–334 | Cite as

Interrelationship of static mechanical factors and anatomical structure in lung evolution

  • S. F. Perry
  • H. -R. Duncker


The inflation curves in 8 reptilian and in 2 avian lungs are sigmoid in comparison with the complex curve in the rat. Compliance is greatest in the lungs of those reptiles possessing well developed, membranous lung regions, and is similar to the extremely high compliance of avian air sacs. The body-weight standardized compliance of mammalian lungs is 1 to 2 orders of magnitude lower than that in reptilian lungs or in avian air sacs. Comparison of breathing pattern, elastic work of breathing and ventilatory rate indicates that a low-work strategy predominates in reptiles and in birds, which are obligatory rib breathers. Mammals can sustain a work rate per unit ventilation rate\(\left( {{{\dot w} \mathord{\left/ {\vphantom {{\dot w} {\dot V{\text{E}}}}} \right. \kern-\nulldelimiterspace} {\dot V{\text{E}}}}} \right)\) some 10 times greater than that of other groups because of efficient diaphragm breathing. The evolutionary implications of static mechanics for lung structure are discussed.


Work Rate Breathing Pattern Ventilation Rate Mechanical Factor Lung Evolution 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. F. Perry
    • 1
  • H. -R. Duncker
    • 2
  1. 1.Pachbereich IVUniversität OldenburgOldenburgGermany
  2. 2.Zentrum für Anatomie und CytobiologieJustus-Liebig-Universität GiessenGiessenGermany

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