Of the muscles listed above, some are used for inhaling and some for exhaling. Yet the study found all four muscle types work together to help an alligator shift its lungs so it can rock downward to dive or roll side-to-side. The tail also helps gators roll.
The muscles are on when they are diving, and the muscles shut off when they start returning to the surface, Uriona says.
The Alligators Burden
As part of the study, Uriona created small weights equal to only 2.5 percent of each gators body weight by wrapping buckshot pellets in duct tape.
When a weight was duct-taped to an alligators snout, it helped the alligator dive. As a result, the electrical recordings showed that there was reduced activity of muscles needed to help diving muscles that pull the lungs backward to help lift the tail.
When a weight was duct-taped at the base of a gat
|Contact: Lee Siegel|
University of Utah