Why doesn't the elephant have a pleural space?

@article{West2002WhyDT,
  title={Why doesn't the elephant have a pleural space?},
  author={John B West},
  journal={News in physiological sciences : an international journal of physiology produced jointly by the International Union of Physiological Sciences and the American Physiological Society},
  year={2002},
  volume={17},
  pages={
          47-50
        }
}
  • J. West
  • Published 1 April 2002
  • Medicine
  • News in physiological sciences : an international journal of physiology produced jointly by the International Union of Physiological Sciences and the American Physiological Society
The elephant is the only mammal whose pleural space is obliterated by connective tissue. This has been known for 300 years but never explained. The elephant is also the only animal that can snorkel at depth. The resulting pressure differences require changes in the pleural membranes and pleural space. 

Figures from this paper

My love affair with the pleural space

  • J. Massie
  • Art
    The Medical journal of Australia
  • 2020
TLDR
The pleural space is one of the most slippery mysteries of the body; a “space” that is not really there; a sort of double negative existential wonder whose meaning seems perpetually out of reach.

Shifting Pneumothorax: A Radiographic and Sonographic Evaluation

A 62-year-old woman was admitted for elective bilateral nephrectomies for symptomatic large bilateral polycystic kidneys. In the immediate postoperative period, the patient was hypotensive requirin...

Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Pleural Space

TLDR
The pleural space is a liquid-filled cavity enclosed between the parietal mesothelium located on the inner surface of the thorax, the diaphragm and the mediastinal tissues and the visceral mesot Helium present on the lung surface that plays an essential role in the physiology of the respiratory system.

Recurrence of spontaneous pneumothorax six years after VATS pleurectomy: evidence for formation of neopleura

TLDR
A young fit male patient who suffered a PSP 6 years ago, and underwent an uncomplicated videoscopic surgical pleurectomy, presented with a complete collapse of the lung on the initial PSP side, and residual mesothelial cells seem to have had the capacity to create a completely new pleura and pleural space.

The graviportal spine: Epaxial muscles of the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana).

In this study, we present not only a new and detailed anatomical description of the epaxial muscles and adjacent ligamentous and fascial structures in the African savanna elephant but also a

Comparative morphology of the larynx, trachea and lungs of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) and domestic animals.

TLDR
The study was conducted on larynx, trachea, and lungs collected from Asian elephants, cattle, horse, pig and dog to find out whether a pleural cavity between the layers was absent.

Pleural function and lymphatics

TLDR
A detailed account of the actual knowledge on the complex morphology of the pleural lymphatic system and the effect of lymphatic inefficiency in the development of clinically severe pleural and, more in general, respiratory pathologies is presented.

Histology of 24 organs from Asian elephant calves (Elephas maximus)

TLDR
Histological information from various organs can serve as an important foundation of basal data for future microanatomical studies, and help in the diagnosis and pathogenesis in sick elephants or those with an unknown cause of death.

Pneumothorax in the critically ill patient.

TLDR
In patients with a persistent air leak or failure of the lung to expand, current guidelines suggest that an early thoracic surgical consultation be requested within 3 to 5 days.

References

SHOWING 1-9 OF 9 REFERENCES

Long term sequelae after talc pleurodesis for spontaneous pneumothorax.

TLDR
After talc pleurodesis performed between 1954 and 1964 because of spontaneous pneumothorax during thoracoscopy, it is concluded that the method is effective and does not produce any noticeable side effects on long-term observation.

The structure of the parietal pleura and its relationship to pleural liquid dynamics in sheep

TLDR
The thinness of the parietal pleura, the closeness of its blood vessels to the pleural space, and its specialized lymphatic clearance pathways, together indicate that the par societal pleura plays a major role in pleural liquid and protein dynamics in sheep.

XI.—The Anatomy of a Fœtal African Elephant, Elephas africanus (Loxodonta africana). Part III. The Contents of the Thorax and Abdomen, and the Skeleton

The acquisition of a preserved fœtal specimen of the African Elephant has enabled the writer to prepare a series of papers on the anatomy of this interesting Mammal. The present paper forms Part III

The developing renal, reproductive, and respiratory systems of the African elephant suggest an aquatic ancestry.

TLDR
The palaeontological evidence suggests that the elephant's ancestors were aquatic, and recent immunological and molecular evidence shows an extremely close affinity between present-day elephants and the aquatic Sirenia (dugong and manatees).

The peculiar lungs of the elephant

  • New Scientist
  • 1962

On the anatomy of the elephant

  • Proc R Ir Acad
  • 1997