eli5: how do animals like whales not get decompression sickness?

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eli5: how do animals like whales not get decompression sickness?

In: Biology
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Yes, whales do get the bends. We know this from damage evident in whale skeletons that have washed ashore. However, because they are breathing only one lungful of air at a time rather than the compressed air that scuba divers breathe for long stretches of time, they don’t have a lot of problems, it’s a very mild case any time they get it, so they can survive.

Also some animals have what are called swim bladders (which is basically a sack full of gas) which serves two purposes. 1. Decompression sickness causes gas bubbles to form in the blood, but the physiology of fish allow them to store that gas in the swim bladder. 2. Because of the gas in the swim bladder it helps the fish to be more buoyant. So a fishes anatomy and physiology allow it to take what would be harmful (gas bubbles in the blood) and make it helpful.

Whales don’t breath compressed air. Whales breath normal atmospheric pressures air and bring that down with them to the depths. Therefore when they rise the air is not expanding within them like it would in someone who’s been breathing compressed gases.