Inflating a set of cat lungs

Lungs are by most accounts mundane. Everybody has them, few give it much thought. But sequestered within darkness of the chest cavity, enveloping the fluttering heart, there’s an incredible wonder to this oddly inflatable organ.

Dissection is a destructive process. Rudely excised from membranous mooring and nourishing vessels, the deflated lungs appear little more than bloodied meat; amorphous and exposed…….until a breath of air unfurls its secret glory. 

Here, a set of cat lungs is inflated with a straw. Comprised of hundreds of millions of microscopic air sacks called alveoli, mammalian lungs harbor air capacity that is difficult to believe unless seen. The color of the entire organ lightens into a soft pink, as each microscopic sac fills with air.

A debt of gratitude is owed to cyborgraptor for her assistance in creating these gifs, as well as the students that helped me film this demo. 


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