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Loopy Lungs in Alligators

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When birds breathe air flows unidirectionally through most of their gas-exchanging bronchi. This design is often presumed to be unique to birds and to have arisen to meet the high oxygen demands of flight. In this talk I will discuss recent data showing that airflow is unidirectional within the lung of the American alligator, a member of the extant sister taxon of birds. Thus, airflow probably was unidirectional in the lungs of basal archosaurs of the Triassic and their descendents: phytosaurs, aetosaurs, rauisuchians, crocodylomorphs, pterosaurs, and all dinosaurs including sauropods, theropods, and ornithischians.

This talk is part of the Foster Talks series.

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