By Dennis Garvie
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Pharynx—A tube that connects the nose and mouth to the larynx. It is sometimes called the throat. phlegm—Mucus produced in the lungs. protein—A molecule that speeds up chemical reactions, repairs damaged cells, and builds new bones, teeth, hair, muscles, and skin. respiratory system—The group of body organs that takes in oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide. rib—One of the bones that supports the front of the chest. rumen—The first stomach chamber a ruminant’s food enters. ruminant— A large, plant-eating mammal with a four-chambered stomach.
That’s why ruminants are the world’s best belchers. Methane is one of the gases that causes global warming. Scientists are looking for ways to decrease the amount of gases that cows and sheep belch into the air. The classroom is quiet, and everyone is hard at work. Suddenly, you hear a loud, rumbling sound. Everyone stops what they’re doing and looks around. You look around, too, even though you know exactly where the noise came from—your stomach. You felt it tumble and quake. mbling u r a d e ll a c reeks G t n ie c n a reate a c e h o t t t g a in h y w r t Know y were e h T i.
Animals inhale air, use the oxygen in it, and release the carbon dioxide. Plants use that carbon dioxide— along with water and energy from the sun—to make food. And guess what they give off—that’s right, oxygen. How perfect is that? In 2002 a scientist named Lynn Margulis accidentally dropped and broke a piece of amber, or fossilized tree resin, with a 20-millionyear-old termite inside. Oops! Luckily, Margulis turned a mistake into an opportunity. She drilled into tiny bubbles near the termite’s body and tested the gases inside.