Originally I was pondering about why we have the ability to breathe manually. I couldn't think of any tangible advantage, given that the body can develop mechanisms to regulate the rate of breathing when needed.
An uncited source (on reddit) said "any animal that can vocalise 'can' breathe manually." Is that true?
Secondly, do non vocal animals, for eg., some arthropods, not have any conscious control over their rate of breathing?
Some mollusks have lungs and can use breath for nest building, defense and diving. They have 100 times less neurons than arthropods.
semi-aquatic insects can control air for going under-water, and some spiders, beetles and spittle-bugs can control bubbles. There are even shrimps that snap at water to produce bubbles.
Fish can hoover and squirt out targets using gulps, without even having lungs, build bubble nests and they also have a swim bladder that they can use to control buoyancy. Human lungs and fish swim-bladders are thought to have evolved from primitive fish that gulp air: https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160819/p2a/00m/0na/004000c
It illustrates early vertebrate control of breath-like mechanisms. It's sometimes their main mode of interacting with objects and prey.
Some reptiles hold their breath under water and use bubbles, i.e. iguanas, water anoles and crocodiles. Some reptiles can vocalize, i.e. gecko's : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q_1KW0Q-10 Scientists don't think that they have much conscious thought.
Amphibians can hold their breath for long periods to swim and use the throat to hoover prey, and most frogs can vocalize: https://youtu.be/y7F0ObBiHio
orang-utans can blow bubble gum, swimming birds and mammals can often do a lot of bubble stuff.
Perhaps the truth pivots on knowing what animal consciousness is, which is amply debated on the web.
Manual involves hands. Consciously and voluntarily involve thought, and those are the words used in biology.
Animal will and conscious reasoning is one of the most controversial topics in science, and scientists still argue both ways, because they CAN argue, and there is no agreed measure of consciousness.
14 Animals That Breathe Through Skin (Skin Respiration)
The Animals breathing through the skin (Skin respiration) Are all those animals that have the ability to perform their respiratory process cutaneously.
Among this group are amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders), annelids (earthworm) and some echinoderms (sea urchin). However, some fish, snakes, Turtles And lizards use their skin as a respiratory organ to a greater or lesser degree.
The skin of these animals is moist, fairly thin and highly vascularized in their inner layers. These characteristics are fundamental in this type of animals to allow the respiratory process through this organ.
In addition, most animals with this type of respiration have lungs or gills that provide them with an alternate surface for gas exchange and supplement the Cutaneous respiration .
In fact, only certain types of salamanders, which have neither lungs nor gills, survive exclusively with cutaneous respiration. You may also like to know How do the animals that live underwater manage to breathe?
What Does This System Do?
Animals need oxygen (O) to survive. In fact, all organisms need oxygen to complete the process to burning glucose for fuel. Even protists and plants need oxygen, but as you become more active, you need a lot of oxygen. That's where your respiratory system comes in.
It's purpose is to bring oxygen into your body. One of the products of cellular respiration is carbon dioxide. Your respiratory system also helps your body get rid of that carbon dioxide. While you have lungs, fish have gills that serve as the location for that transfer of gases. Whatever animal you study, oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide let out.
The four types of respiration in animals
The basics of respiration are the gaseous exchange that takes place in a living organism. Through this exchange, the organism takes in oxygen (O2) and releases carbon dioxide (CO2).
Releasing carbon dioxide is essential since accumulating this gas is fatal. Also, obviously, without oxygen, no living being is able to survive.
1. Cutaneous respiration
This type of respiration occurs through the skin. It’s characteristic of echinoderms, annelids, and certain amphibians. The gas exchange – oxygen and carbon dioxide – happens when the dermis is humid. As a result, animals that breathe through their skin live in aquatic or very humid places.
It’s worth noting that these species have very fine, well-vascularized skin. This is necessary to breathe this way without problems. For example, some animals that breathe through their skin are cold-blooded animals, such as frogs, toads, jellyfish, anemones, and earthworms.
2. Respiration in animals: Branchial respiration
Gills are respiratory organs that aquatic animals have, with the exception of those that breathe through their skin. Oxygen is extracted from the water through the gills and carbon dioxide is released. This process allows O2 to pass into the blood, tissues, and cells.
Unlike lungs or tracheas, gills are external. In fact, you can see them behind a fish’s head. In other cases, they are appendages of different sizes in mollusks, newts, salamanders, and annelids.
Before reaching adulthood, insects and amphibians have gills. Later, they breathe using a different method.
3. Tracheal respiration
Animals that use this type of respiration have lungs that are called “book lungs.” For example, some animals that use this type of respiration are insects, arachnids, myriapods, such as centipedes and onychophorans. They have tube-like structures that allow oxygen to connect cells.
This system doesn’t use the circulatory system to move oxygen. In fact, these animals have very slow-moving blood, which doesn’t have the capacity to transport oxygen. Instead, there are tubes with a blowhole open to the outside that allows air to enter.
4. Respiration in animals: Pulmonary respiration
However, of all the types of respiration in animals, the lung is the one we’re most familiar with because it’s used by humans and other mammals.
Lungs are internal organs that can actually develop in two ways. For example, they can be secular (in the form of a sac) or tubular, which fills with air depending on the situation.
Adaptations to pulmonary respiration
Some animals have different forms of lungs. For example, reptiles have lungs with folds and a large surface area. On the other hand, snakes have a single lung because their bodies are so narrow. In addition, aquatic turtles have a modified circulatory system that allows them to carry out their vital functions without needing to come up to the surface for a long time.
Alternatively, mammals have very well-developed lungs. These lungs also have branched tubes called alveolar sacs. This is where gas exchange occurs.
However, animals of this species that live in the water, such as whales and dolphins, have a greater capacity for oxygenating their blood. As a result, they don’t have to introduce oxygen into the body as often as land animals.
Finally, birds have lungs adapted for flight. When they breathe, their lungs fill with air that passes into air sacs. This way, they don’t have to breathe while flying. The sacs act like an oxygen tank that they can empty according to their needs.
Once you realize that there are various types of respiration in animals, you see how complex and harmonious the animal kingdom is. All the different adaptations for respiration make this very clear, and they never cease to amaze us.
Exercise 2: Breathing Measurements
During inhalation, volume increases as a result of contraction of the diaphragm, and pressure decreases (according to Boyle&rsquos Law). This decrease of pressure in the thoracic cavity relative to the environment makes the cavity less than the atmosphere. Because of this drop in pressure, air rushes into the respiratory passages. To increase the volume of the lungs, the chest wall expands. The chest wall expands out and away from the lungs. The lungs are elastic therefore, when air fills the lungs, the elastic recoil within the tissues of the lung exerts pressure back toward the interior of the lungs. These outward and inward forces compete to inflate and deflate the lung with every breath. Upon exhalation, the lungs recoil to force the air out of the lungs, and the intercostal muscles relax, returning the chest wall back to its original position. The diaphragm also relaxes and moves higher into the thoracic cavity. This increases the pressure within the thoracic cavity relative to the environment, and air rushes out of the lungs. The movement of air out of the lungs is a passive event. No muscles are contracting to expel the air.
Put one hand on your chest and take three deep inspirations followed by three forced expirations. Describe your observation during each inspiration and expiration.
Repeat Step 1 with your hands on your abdomen. Now try to breathe in and out without any movement of your chest. Describe your observation during each inspiration and expiration.
But where does the energy come from?
The cells still had organelles that looked like mitochondria and made other enzymes that mitochondria make. They just didn't do respiration anymore.
What the researchers don't yet know is how the organism gets energy without breathing oxygen.
Some microbes that don't breathe oxygen breathe hydrogen instead, but there's no evidence Henneguya does this.
Some parasitic microbes don't breathe themselves, but steal energy molecules called ATP from their hosts.
"We believe this is what our parasite is doing," Huchon said.
Henneguya and its relatives spend part of their life cycle in a fish and part of their life cycle in a worm, although each organism is specialized in terms of what kind and part of the fish it chooses and what kind of worm it lives in. In the case of Henneguya, it lives in the muscles of coho, chinook, pink, sockeye and chum salmon as well as rainbow trout.
While it's related to jellyfish, it doesn't look anything like one. In the spore stage, it is somewhat tadpole-like.
"Otherwise, it's just a big blob," Huchon said.
The parasite doesn't appear to bother the fish much, she said, but tapioca disease can make its meat unmarketable and also cause the meat to spoil more quickly, making it a nuisance for the seafood industry: "No one wants to eat salmon full of white dots inside."
She suspects that both the salmon muscle and Henneguya's host worm are low-oxygen environments, making the ability to breathe oxygen useless to the organism.
Andrew Roger, a Dalhousie University biology professor who was not involved in the study but was part of a team that discovered the first eukaryote (organism with complex cells) without mitochondria, said he was surprised by the discovery, but found the evidence convincing.
"There was a belief that all animals should have mitochondrial DNA and be able to do aerobic metabolism," he said. "This one can't. It changes the textbook account of what you see in the animal kingdom."
However, he believes "it's inevitable" that scientists will find more animals like Henneguya among those that have adapted to living in places with almost no oxygen, such as some parts of the ocean floor.
In fact, scientists have already proposed that one such group of animals called loriciferans can do that, and had some evidence that this was the case, although not as much or as detailed as for Henneguya.
Roger says animals can actually use an oxygen-free process to produce energy from sugar, but it's far less efficient. He suspects this may be what Henneguya is doing.
Patrick Keeling, a biology professor at the University of British Columbia has also studied parasitic microbes that don't breathe oxygen, but wasn't involved in the research.
He said it's hard to prove that something doesn't exist, but said Huchon and her team have done that.
He added that the ability to live without breathing oxygen has evolved many times among microbes in environments with little or no oxygen.
"In a way, it's not surprising," he said. "But it's pretty cool that animals can do it too."
AP Biology Animal Form and Function Practice Test
A. is resting and has not eaten its first meal of the day.
B. is resting and has just completed its first meal of the day.
C. has not consumed any water for at least 48 hours.
D. has recently eaten a sugar free meal.
A. involves production of heat through metabolism.
B. is a term equivalent to cold blooded.
C. is only seen in insects.
D. is a characteristic of most animals.
A. the kidneys excrete salt into the urine when dietary salt levels rise.
B. the level of glucose in the blood is abnormally high whether or not a meal has been eaten.
C. the blood pressure increases in response to an increase in blood volume.
D. the core body temperature of a runner rises gradually from 37oC to 45oC.
time, he or she may die from water toxicity. ADH can help
prevent water retention through interaction with target cells in the
A. Secretin promotes an increase in the pH of the duodenum.
B. A hormone acts in an antagonistic way with another hormone.
C. A hormone is involved in a positive feedback loop.
D. A stimulus causes an endocrine cell to secrete a particular hormone, which decreases the stimulus.
A. peripheral nervous system
B. sympathetic nervous system
D. parasympathetic nervous system
A. the rising sun causes an increase in body temperature in a stationary animal.
B. an increase in body temperature results from exercise.
C. an increase in body temperature resulting from fever.
D. a decrease in body temperature resulting from shock.
A. cells need to be protected from nitrogen gas in the atmosphere.
B. feedback signals cannot cross through the interstitial fluid.
C. terrestrial organisms have not adapted to life in dry environments.
D. this prevents the movement of water due to osmosis.
A. more rapidly in myelinated than in non myelinated axons.
B. by the direct action of acetylcholine on the axonal membrane.
C. more slowly in axons of large than in small diameter.
D. by activating the sodium potassium pump at each point along the axonal membrane.
B. increased permeability of the collecting duct to water
C. reduced urine production
D. release of ADH by the pituitary gland
A. luteinizing hormone and oxytocin
B. oxytocin, prolactin, and luteinizing hormone
C. prolactin and calcitonin
D. follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone
A. a decrease in blood calcium increases the amount of the hormone that releases calcium from bone.
B. a nursing infant s sucking increases the secretion of a milk releasing hormone in the mother.
C. an increase in calcium concentration increases the secretion of a hormone that stores calcium in bone.
D. a decrease in blood sugar increases the secretion of a hormone that converts glycogen to glucose.
A. It primarily defends against fungi and protozoa.
B. It produces antibodies that circulate in body fluids.
C. It is responsible for transplant tissue rejection.
D. It protects the body against cells that become cancerous.
27. Leptin is a product of adipose cells. Therefore, a very obese mouse would be expected to have which of the following?
A. increased gene expression of db and decreased expression of ob
B. increased gene expression of ob and decreased expression of db
C. decreased transcription of both ob and db
A. inhibition of leptin receptors
B. overexpression of the leptin receptor gene
A. They are used to communicate between different organisms.
B. They are carried by the circulatory system.
C. They are modified amino acids, peptides, or steroid molecules.
D. They are produced by endocrine glands.
A. sensitive period in which canary parents imprint on new offspring.
B. addition of new syllables to a canary s song repertoire.
C. crystallization of subsong into adult songs.
D. renewal of mating and nest building behaviors.
A. altruism is always reciprocal.
B. natural selection does not favor altruistic behavior that causes the death of the altruist.
C. natural selection is more likely to favor altruistic behavior that benefits an offspring than altruistic behavior that benefits a sibling.
D. natural selection favors altruistic acts when the resulting benefit to the beneficiary, correct for relatedness, exceeds the cost to the altruist.
A. a voltage gated sodium channel.
B. a ligand gated sodium channel.
C. a voltage gated potassium channel.
D. a second messenger gated sodium channel.
A. oxygen used in mitochondria in one day.
C. carbon dioxide produced in one day.
D. water consumed in one day.
A. complement is secreted -> B cell contacts antigen -> helper T cell activated -> cytokines released
B. cytotoxic T cells -> class II MHC molecule antigen
complex displayed -> cytokines released -> cell lysis
C. self tolerance of immune cells -> B cells contact antigen -> cytokines released
D. B cell contact antigen -> helper T cell is activated -> clonal selection occurs
A. must include chemical senses, mechanoreception, and vision.
B. has information flow in only one direction: away from an integrating center.
C. has information flow in only one direction: toward an integrating center.
D. includes a minimum of 12 ganglia.
B. autonomic nervous system
C. sympathetic nervous system
D. parasympathetic nervous system
A. can produce diverse phenotypes that may enhance survival of a population in a changing environment.
B. guarantees that both parents will provide care for each offspring.
C. yields more numerous offspring more rapidly than is possible with asexual reproduction.
D. enables males and females to remain isolated from each other while rapidly colonizing habitats.
A. Prolactin is a nonspecific hormone.
B. Prolactin is an evolutionary conserved hormone.
C. Prolactin is derived from two separate sources.
D. Prolactin has a unique mechanism for eliciting its effects.
A. An individuals reproductive success depends in part on how the behavior is performed.
B. Some component of the behavior is genetically inherited.
C. The behavior varies among individuals.
D. In each individual, the form of the behavior is determined entirely by genes.
A. will not be able to interpret stimuli.
B. will not have a nervous system.
1. Tropomyosin shifts and unblocks the cross bridge binding sites.
2. Calcium is released and binds to the troponin complex.
3. Transverse tubules depolarize the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
4. The thin filaments are ratcheted across the thick filaments by the heads of the myosin molecules using energy from ATP.
5. An action potential in a motor neuron causes the axon to release acetylcholine, which depolarizes the muscle cell membrane.
A. much human behavior has evolved by natural selection.
B. human behavior is rigidly determined by inheritance.
C. the environment plays a larger role than genes in shaping human behavior.
D. humans cannot choose to change their social behavior.
A. an association area of the frontal lobe that is involved in higher cognitive functions
B. a region deep in the cortex that is associated with the formation of emotional memories
C. a central part of the cortex that receives olfactory information
D. a primitive brain region that is common to reptiles and mammals
A. stimulating the salivary glands.
B. accelerating heart rate.
C. relaxing bronchi in lungs.
D. stimulating glucose release.
A. Innate behaviors are expressed in most individuals in a population across a wide range of environmental conditions.
B. Genes have very little influence on the expression of innate behaviors.
C. Innate behaviors occur in invertebrates and some vertebrates but not in mammals.
D. Innate behaviors tend to vary considerably among members of a population.
A. The dog s behavior is a result of operant conditioning.
B. The dog has been classically conditioned.
C. The dog is performing a social behavior.
D. The dog is trying to protect its territory.
A. permitting passage only to a specific ion.
B. ability to change its size depending on the ion needing transport.
C. permitting passage by negative but not positive ions.
D. permitting passage by positive but not negative ions.
A. identify specific bacterial pathogens.
B. recognize differences among types of cancer.
C. identify specific viruses.
D. distinguish self from nonself.
A. the motor neuron fires action potentials but the skeletal muscle is not electrochemically excitable.
B. the motor neuron is considered the presynaptic cell and the skeletal muscle is the postsynaptic cell.
C. action potentials are possible on the motor neuron but not the skeletal muscle.
D. the motor neuron is considered the postsynaptic cell and the skeletal muscle is the presynaptic cell.
B. non shivering thermogenesis.
B. trial and error learning.
A. The neuron becomes less likely to generate an action potential.
B. The equilibrium potential for K (EK) becomes more positive.
C. The inside of the cell becomes more negative relative to the outside.
D. There is a net diffusion of Na out of the cell.
A. initiating signal transduction pathways in the cells.
B. causing molecular changes in the cells.
C. affecting ion channel proteins.
D. altering the permeability of the cells.
A. None of these schemes describes cross fostering.
B. You would see if curly whiskered mud rats bred true for aggression.
C. You would remove the offspring of curly whiskered mudrats and bald mud rats from their parents and raise them in the same environment.
D. You would place newborn curly whiskered mud rats with bald mudrat parents, place newborn bald mud rats with curly whiskered mud rat parents, and let some mud rats of both species be raised by their own species. Then compare the outcomes.
A. These proteins act individually to attack and lyse microbes.
B. These proteins are involved in innate immunity and not acquired immunity.
C. These proteins are one group of antimicrobial proteins acting together in cascade fashion.
D. These proteins are secreted by cytotoxic T cells and other CD8 cells.
A. they are necessary coenzymes.
B. only those animals use the nutrients.
C. only some foods contain them.
D. they cannot be manufactured by the organism.
A. forebrain and hindbrain.
B. central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
D. sympathetic and parasympathetic.
A. Specialized regions are possible.
B. Extracellular digestion is not needed.
C. Intracellular digestion is easier.
D. Digestive enzymes can be more specific.
A. glial cell in the brain.
B. a neuron that controls eye movements.
D. a glial cell at a ganglion.
A. proteins that consist of two light and two heavy polypeptide chains
B. foreign molecules that trigger the generation of antibodies
C. proteins found in the blood that cause foreign blood cells
D. proteins embedded in B cell membranes
A. be bigger and stronger than the other animals.
C. have excess energy reserves.
D. be genetically related to the other animals.
A. sodium and potassium ions into the mitochondria.
B. sodium ions out of the cell and potassium ions into the cell.
C. sodium and potassium ions out of the cell.
D. sodium and potassium ions into the cell.
A. members of different populations differ in learning ability.
B. members of different populations differ in manual dexterity.
C. the cultural tradition of using stones to crack nuts has arisen in only some populations.
D. the behavioral difference is caused by genetic differences between populations.
C. coordinating limb movement.
A. antigen receptors are not the same as for a flu virus to which she has previously been exposed.
B. no memory cells can be called upon, so adequate response is slow.
C. it takes up to two weeks to stimulate immunologic memory cells.
D. specific B cells and T cells must be selected prior to a protective response.
A. clotting proteins migrating away from the site of infection
B. reduced permeability of blood vessels to conserve plasma
C. increased activity of phagocytes in an inflamed area
D. release of substances to decrease the blood supply to an inflamed area
D. sensory neuron dendrites.
A. Only target cells are exposed to aldosterone.
B. Aldosterone is unable to enter nontarget cells.
C. Nontarget cells convert aldosterone to a hormone to which they do respond.
D. Nontarget cells destroy aldosterone before it can produce its effect.
A. is aimed at attracting mates.
D. is the final song that some species produce.
A. The sound from the earphone irritates the male mosquitoes, causing them to attempt to sting it.
B. The males learn to associate the sound with females.
C. Through classical conditioning, the male mosquitoes have associated the inappropriate stimulus from the earphone with the normal response of copulation.
D. Copulation is a fixed action pattern, and the female flight sound is a sign stimulus that initiates it.
A. is the point of separation from a living from a dead neuron.
B. is the minimum hyperpolarization needed to prevent the occurrence of action potentials.
C. is the minimum depolarization needed to operate the voltage gated sodium and potassium channels.
D. is the peak amount of depolarization seen in an action potential.
A. positive feedback benefits the organism, whereas negative feedback is detrimental.
B. the effector s response in positive feedback is in the same direction as the initiating stimulus rather than opposite to it.
C. the effector s response increases some parameter (such as temperature), whereas in negative feedback it decreases.
D. positive feedback systems have control centers that are lacking in negative feedback systems.
A. the movement of sodium and potassium ions from the presynaptic into the postsynaptic neuron.
B. impulses ricocheting back and forth across the gap.
C. impulses traveling as electrical currents across the gap.
D. the movement of calcium ions from the presynaptic into the postsynaptic neuron.
A. Classical conditioning involves trial and error learning.
B. Imprinting is a learned behavior with an innate component acquired during a sensitive period.
C. Associative learning involves linking one stimulus with another.
D. Operant conditioning involves associating a behavior with a reward or punishment.
A. All of the above are equally productive ways to approach the question.
B. bring animals into the laboratory and determine the conditions under which they become restless and attempt to migrate.
C. perform within population matings with birds from different populations that have different migratory habits. Rear the offspring in the absence of their parents and observe the migratory behavior of offspring.
D. observe genetically distinct populations in the field and see if they have different migratory habits.
Each individual cell is responsible for the energy exchanges necessary to sustain its ordered structure. Cells accomplish this task by breaking down nutrient molecules to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which can then be used to run cellular processes that require energy. This process is called cellular respiration which requires nutrient molecules and oxygen. Carbon dioxide and water are products of the series of reactions involved in cellular respiration.
There are several methods of indirectly measuring the rate of cellular respiration in organisms. One method involves monitoring changes in temperature since the process of respiration is exergonic (produces heat). Another method is to measure either the oxygen consumption or the carbon dioxide production. Respirometers are devices that measure these types of gas volume changes, and therefore provide information about the rate of cellular respiration.
In order to be able to use a respirometer, you will need to use the ideal gas law, which describes the relationship between temperature, pressure and volume. (PV = nrT)
During cellular respiration, two gases are changing in volume. Oxygen gas is being consumed by the respiring cells and carbon dioxide gas is diffusing out of the cells. The respirometer, therefore, has to be able to deal with two simultaneously changing gas volumes. This is accomplished by introducing potassium hydroxide into the device. KOH absorbs carbon dioxide, following this equation
Potassium carbonate ( K2CO3 ) is a solid precipitate. Any CO2 produced is immediately converted from a gas to a solid and is therefore no longer governed by gas laws. This allows the respirometer to measure only one variable, the consumption of oxygen gas by living cells.
Meet a Modern Real-Life Flying Dragon
While dragons of the past may have been large enough to carry off a sheep or human, modern dragons eat insects and sometimes birds and small mammals. These are the iguanian lizards, which belong to the family Agamidae. The family includes domesticated bearded dragons and Chinese water dragons and also the wild genus Draco.
Draco spp. are flying dragons. Really, Draco is a master of gliding. The lizards glide distances as long as 60 meters (200 feet) by flattening their limbs and extending wing-like flaps. The lizards use their tail and neck flap (gular flag) to stabilize and control their descent. You can find these living flying dragons in South Asia, where they are relatively common. The largest only grows to a length of 20 centimeters (7.9 inches), so you don't need to worry about being eaten.
Do plants and leave die?
Fall in America and throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere is a beautiful time of year. Bright reds, oranges, and yellows rustle in the trees and then blanket the ground as warm weather gives way to winter cold. Many are awed at God’s handiwork as the leaves float to the ground like heaven’s confetti. But fall may also make us wonder, “Did Adam and Eve ever see such brilliant colors in the Garden of Eden?” Realizing that these plants wither at the end of the growing season may also raise the question, “Did plants die before the Fall of mankind?”
Before we can answer this question, we must consider the definition of die. We commonly use the word die to describe when plants, animals, or humans no longer function biologically. However, this is not the definition of the word die or death in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for die (or death), mût (or mavet or muwth), is used only in relation to the death of man or animals with the breath of life, not regarding plants.1 This usage indicates that plants are viewed differently from animals and humans.
Plants, Animals, and Man — All Different
What is the difference between plants and animals or man? For the answer we need to look at the phrase nephesh chayyah.2 Nephesh chayyah is used in the Bible to describe sea creatures (Genesis 1:20–21), land animals (Genesis 1:24), birds (Genesis 1:30), and man (Genesis 2:7).3 Nephesh is never used to refer to plants. Man specifically is denoted as nephesh chayyah, a living soul, after God breathed into him the breath of life. This contrasts with God telling the earth on day 3 to bring forth plants (Genesis 1:11). The science of taxonomy, the study of scientific classification, makes the same distinction between plants and animals.
Since God gave only plants (including their fruits and seeds) as food for man and animals, then Adam, Eve, and all animals and birds were originally vegetarian (Genesis 1:29–30). Plants were to be a resource of the earth that God provided for the benefit of nephesh chayyah creatures — both animals and man. Plants did not “die,” as in mût they were clearly consumed as food. Scripture describes plants as withering (Hebrew yabesh), which means “to dry up.” This term is more descriptive of a plant or plant part ceasing to function biologically.
A “Very Good” Biological Cycle
When plants wither or shed leaves, various organisms, including bacteria and fungi, play an active part in recycling plant matter and thus in providing food for man and animals. These decay agents do not appear to be nephesh chayyah and would also have a life cycle as nutrients are reclaimed through this “very good” biological cycle. As the plant withers, it may produce vibrant colors because, as a leaf ceases to function, the chlorophyll degrades, revealing the colors of previously hidden pigments.
Since decay involves the breakdown of complex sugars and carbohydrates into simpler nutrients, we see evidence for the second law of thermodynamics before the Fall of mankind. But in the pre-Fall world, this process would have been a perfect system, which God described as “very good.”
What Determines a Leaf’s Color?
When trees bud in the spring, their green leaves renew forests and delight our senses. The green color comes from the pigment chlorophyll, which resides in the leaf ’s cells and captures sunlight for photosynthesis. Other pigments called carotenoids are always present in the cells of leaves as well, but in the summer their yellow or orange colors are generally masked by the abundance of chlorophyll.
In the fall, a kaleidoscope of colors breaks through. With shorter days and colder weather, chlorophyll breaks down, and the yellowish colors become visible. Various pigments produce the purple of sumacs, the golden bronze of beeches, and the browns of oaks. Other chemical changes produce the fiery red of the sugar maple. When fall days are warm and sunny, much sugar is produced in the leaves. Cool nights trap it there, and the sugars form a red pigment called anthocyanin.
Leaf colors are most vivid after a warm, dry summer followed by early autumn rains, which prevent leaves from falling early. Prolonged rain in the fall prohibits sugar synthesis in the leaves and thus produces a drabness due to a lack of anthocyanin production.
Still other changes take place. A special layer of cells slowly severs the leaf ’s tissues that are attached to the twig. The leaf falls, and a tiny scar is all that remains. Soon the leaf decomposes on the forest floor, releasing important nutrients back into the soil to be recycled, perhaps by other trees that will once again delight our eyes with rich and vibrant colors.
A Creation That Groans
It is conceivable that God withdrew some of His sustaining (restraining) power at the Fall to no longer uphold things in a perfect state when He said, “Cursed is the ground” (Genesis 3:17), and the augmented second law of thermodynamics resulted in a creation that groans and suffers (Romans 8:22).4
Although plants are not the same as man or animals, God used them to be food and a support system for recycling nutrients and providing oxygen. They also play a role in mankind’s choosing life or death. In the Garden were two trees — the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of the first was allowed for food, the other forbidden. In their rebellion, Adam and Eve sinned and ate the forbidden fruit, and death entered the world (Romans 5:12).
Furthermore, because of this sin, all of creation, including nephesh chayyah, suffers (Romans 8:19–23). We are born into this death as descendants of Adam, but we find our hope in Christ. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22, KJV). As you look at the “dead” leaves of fall and remember that the nutrients will be reclaimed into new life, recognize that we too can be reclaimed from death through Christ’s death and Resurrection.
Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Today, silica deposits are mined from these areas.
Silica is very common in nature and makes up 26% of the earth's crust by weight. Various forms of silica include sand, emerald, quartz, feldspar, mica, clay, asbestos, and glass. Silicon, a component of silica, does not exist naturally in its pure form. It usually reacts with oxygen and water to form silicon dioxide. Silicon dioxide has two naturally occurring forms: crystalline and amorphous. Most diatomaceous earth is made of amorphous silicon dioxide. However, it can contain very low levels of crystalline silicon dioxide. The first pesticide products containing silicon dioxide (diatomaceous earth) were registered in 1960 to kill insects and mites.
What are some products that contain diatomaceous earth?
Products containing diatomaceous earth are most commonly dusts. Other formulations include wettable powders and pressurized liquids. Currently, there are over 150 products registered for use inside and outside of buildings, farms, gardens, and pet kennels. Some products can also be used directly on dogs and cats. Diatomaceous earth products are registered for use against bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, ticks, spiders, and many other pests.
There are thousands of non-pesticide products that contain diatomaceous earth. These include skin care products, toothpastes, foods, beverages, medicines, rubbers, paints, and water filters. The Food & Drug Administration lists diatomaceous earth as "Generally Recognized as Safe". "Food grade" diatomaceous earth products are purified. They may be used as anticaking materials in feed, or as clarifiers for wine and beer.
Always follow label instructions and take steps to minimize exposure. If any exposures occur, be sure to follow the First Aid instructions on the product label carefully. For additional treatment advice, contact the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. If you wish to discuss a pesticide problem, please call 1-800-858-7378.
How does diatomaceous earth work?
Diatomaceous earth is not poisonous it does not have to be eaten in order to be effective. Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect's exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed.
How might I be exposed to diatomaceous earth?
People can be exposed to diatomaceous earth if they breathe in the dust, eat it, get it on their skin, or get it in their eyes. For example, when applying the dust or when entering a treated area before the dust has settled. Exposures can also occur if products are accessible to children or pets. Exposure can be limited by reading and following label directions.
What are some signs and symptoms from a brief exposure to diatomaceous earth?
If breathed in, diatomaceous earth can irritate the nose and nasal passages. If an extremely large amount is inhaled, people may cough and have shortness of breath. On skin, it can cause irritation and dryness. Diatomaceous earth may also irritate the eyes, due to its abrasive nature. Any dust, including silica, can be irritating to the eyes.
What happens to diatomaceous earth when it enters the body?
When diatomaceous earth is eaten, very little is absorbed into the body. The remaining portion is rapidly excreted. Small amounts of silica are normally present in all body tissues, and it is normal to find silicon dioxide in urine. In one study, people ate a few grams of diatomaceous earth. The amount of silicon dioxide in their urine was unchanged.
After inhalation of amorphous diatomaceous earth, it is rapidly eliminated from lung tissue. However, crystalline diatomaceous earth is much smaller, and it may accumulate in lung tissue and lymph nodes. Very low levels of crystalline diatomaceous earth may be found in pesticide products.
Is diatomaceous earth likely to contribute to the development of cancer?
When mice were forced to breathe diatomaceous earth for one hour each day for a year, there was an increase in lung cancers. When rats were fed silica at a high dose for two years, there was no increase in cancer development.
Most diatomaceous earth is made of amorphous silicon dioxide. However, it can contain very low levels of crystalline silicon dioxide. Amorphous diatomaceous earth has not been associated with any cancers in people.
Has anyone studied non-cancer effects from long-term exposure to diatomaceous earth?
In a rabbit study, researchers found no health effects after applying diatomaceous earth to the rabbits' skin five times per week for three weeks. In a rat study, researchers fed rats high doses of diatomaceous earth for six months. They found no reproductive or developmental effects. In another rat study, the only effect was more rapid weight gain. That study involved 90 days of feeding rats with a diet made of 5% diatomaceous earth.
When guinea pigs were forced to breathe air containing diatomaceous earth for 2 years, there was slightly more connective tissue in their lungs. When researchers checked before the 2-year mark, no effects were found.
A very small amount of crystalline diatomaceous earth may be found in pesticide products. Long-term inhalation of the crystalline form is associated with silicosis, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. The bulk of diatomaceous earth is amorphous, not crystalline. The amorphous form is only associated with mild, reversible lung inflammation.
Are children more sensitive to diatomaceous earth than adults?
Children may be especially sensitive to pesticides compared to adults. However, there are currently no data to conclude that children have an increased sensitivity specifically to diatomaceous earth.
What happens to diatomaceous earth in the environment?
Silicon is a major component of diatomaceous earth. It is the second most abundant element in soils. It's a common component of rocks, sands, and clays. It is also abundant in plants and plays a role in their growth and development. Due to its chemical makeup, diatomaceous earth is not degraded by microbes or by sunlight. Also, it does not emit vapors or dissolve well in water.
The ocean contains vast amounts of diatomaceous earth. Many marine organisms use it to build their skeletons.
Can diatomaceous earth affect birds, fish, or other wildlife?
Diatomaceous earth is practically non-toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. It is commonly encountered by birds and other wildlife, and it's not known to be harmful. However, no toxicity evaluations for wildlife were found. Agencies have stated that diatomaceous earth is unlikely to affect birds, fish, or other wildlife in a harmful way.
Diatomaceous earth is made of silicon dioxide. When chickens were fed a diet that contained less silicon dioxide than normal, their bone formation was harmed. This suggests that silicon dioxide plays an important role in bone formation.