blowing vs venting

From: Erich Hoyt (
Date: Fri Oct 18 2002 - 06:58:30 EDT

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    -------------------- Begin Original Message --------------------

    Message text written by "WILLIAMS, TERRY R"


    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 9:52 AM
    Subject: Whale breathing

    Dear Expert,

    In a recent conversation regarding whales breathing two terms were used to
    describe the process... One was "blow" or "blowing" and the other was

    The dictionary actually mentions whales under blow and does not mention
    whales under venting. There are numerous articles where one author uses
    blow and another uses vent.

    Venting seems to be more correct, since blowing is only one half of the
    action that must be taken in providing fresh air to the lungs.

    Can you clarify?

    Thank you,

    R. Terry Williams


    -------------------- End Original Message --------------------

    Blowing, spouting and venting are all the same thing and refer specifically
    to the expiration. Blowing is most commonly used by whale researchers to
    describe this, but venting is not inaccurate, in the sense that it means
    "to release or discharge (as in steam) through an opening" (American
    Heritage Dictionary).

    Actually, blowing may be more properly described as 1/3 of the process of
    breathing. The 2002 Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals (Academic Press) has an
    article on "Blowing" p. 105. The complete breathing cycle is said to
    consist of "a very rapid expiration or blow, immediately followed by a
    slightly longer and much less obvious inspiration, and then an extended yet
    variable period of breath holding, or apnea."

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