Humans cannot hold our breath for a long time as oxygen is essential to keep us going. Scientists at the University of Oslo have recently discovered how the Crucian Carp, a close relative of the goldfish, is able to live for months without oxygen.
This discovery is of great interest as it helps us to probe into their world which is sans oxygen. The researchers hope that this understanding of how some animals cope with a lack of oxygen might give clues to how to solve this problem in humans. Anoxia meaning lack of oxygen tops the lists of the major causes of death in the industrialized world.
Here is an increase in the death rates among people who die of lack of oxygen. But here this problem was solved by Mother Nature over a million years ago. Anoxic survival is something that medical science has struggled to understand over the past few decades.
But with limited success as we still have not understood the basic mechanism behind the process of survival without oxygen. Professor Göran Nilsson who is the lead author of this study and his team will be presenting his latest results at the Annual Meeting for the Society for Experimental Biology. The researchers have found that this extraordinary fish can change the structure of its gills to avoid becoming anoxic.
In addition to this its blood has a much higher affinity for oxygen than any other vertebrate, and it makes tranquilizers and produces alcohol when oxygen supplies are limited. These mechanisms allow the fish to survive for days or even months without oxygen depending on the temperature at the same time maintaining physical activity. Further research has to be done on how this can be of use to the human community.