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[THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why.. [UPDATED]
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 06:36   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why.. [UPDATED]

Tau Blood - A Theory on Cyan colouration of Tau blood, a much more accurate reality than 'Red' blood. UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM

The basics of it;

To have cyan blood, the tau would need to have a circulatory system comprising of a plasma with free floating oxygen carrying Hemocyanin, which unlike human blood is not infused in corpuscles cells (hemocytes) , due to it's size (larger) and nature (relation to oxygen and carrying it). To be as efficient as hemoglobin, most Hemocyanin users have high density of blood. Which for tau, would account for their strong grey-blue complexion. Therefore, the less oxygen a tau has, they more grey faced they become..then white and die.

Tau, by this (I believe far better fitting) theory, have a blue blood circulatory system based on Hemocyanin usage.


All these findings suggest this Hemocynanic based cardiovascular circulatory system affects and accounts for a notable traits in tau: UPDATED

Grey/Blue Complexion

Like humans, we are coloured by our blood (put a torch behind your finger and turn it on), our skin pigmentation the only altering factor. Tau also exhibit this.

General lack of strength
Smaller muscles require less oxygen, a system using hemocyanin would starve larger muscles, this physiological adaption suits their circulatory system.

Vision
I will confirm this, but so far, there may be a connection between poor vision and this form of oxygen carrying circulatory system. Also may effect eye colouration.

Cool, Leather-like skin
The evolved need to retain water more than a human, on the hot world they live on would encourage them to produce such a trait. The cool, clammy feel, reported on those touching the tau would correlate well with the lower heat carrying ability of this physiology.

Prefer hot, moisture rich environs
By their own physiology, suggested here, a tau would prefer an environment that is not actively drawing water through his skin and is in general warmer, which like us, is more comfortable than the cold, which effects our bodies.

Prefer salty foods
With the type of blood pressure they require to make efficient use of their circulatory system, tau need salt and water in higher amounts, for in humans these two affect blood pressure. Too much is bad, which effects our (humans) flow of bodily fluids. For a tau, this is actually beneficial, their system supporting pressures to a higher degree. This is not to say Tau gulp down water more than humans, more they inherently have higher amounts and evolution wise have adapted ways to retain water more strictly than humans.

Hemo what ?

Hemocyanin is a bluish, copper-containing protein with an oxygen-carrying function similar to that of hemoglobin (at least it is blue when it is oxygenated, but colorless after the oxygen is released) which is present in the blood of certain animals such as crustaceans. Hemocyanin is much like hemoglobin except that the iron atom in the protein molecule is replaced by one of copper

In my readings quite a few animals have varying coloured blood (unsurprising) and some creatures simply bathe their organs in the finer-sized hemoglobin, just like a Hemocyanin species. But it is a poor usage of hemoglobin. Hemocyanin is far better in this role. Still, a blue-blooded creature's system can, among other tasks, devour bacteria, foreign substances and bits of dead tissue. Just how a human blood system, with red corpuscle cells infused with hemoglobin, would perform.



In Depth;

Hemocyanins (also spelled haemocyanins) are respiratory proteins containing two copper atoms that reversibly bind a single oxygen molecule (O2). Oxygenation causes a color change between the colorless Cu(I) deoxygenated form and the blue Cu(II) oxygenated form. Hemocyanins carry oxygen in the blood of most molluscs, and some arthropods such as the horseshoe crab. They are second only to hemoglobin in biological popularity of use in oxygen transport.

Although the respiratory function of hemocyanin is similar to that of hemoglobin, there are a number of differences in its molecular structure and mechanism. Whereas hemoglobin carries its iron atoms in porphyrin rings (heme groups), the copper atoms of hemocyanin are bound as prosthetic groups comprised of histidine peptides. Hemocyanin binds with oxygen non-cooperatively and is only one-fourth as efficient as hemoglobin at transporting oxygen. Hemoglobin binds oxygen cooperatively due to steric conformational changes in the protein complex, which increases hemoglobin's affinity for oxygen when partially oxygenated. Hemocyanin does not have an increased affinity for oxygen when only partially oxygenated.

Hemocyanin is made of individual subunit proteins, each of which contains two copper atoms and can bind one oxygen molecule (O2). Each subunit weighs about 75 kilodaltons (kDa). Subunits are arranged in chains or bundles in weights exceeding 1500 kDa. Because of the large size of hemocyanin, it is usually found free-floating in the blood, unlike hemoglobin, which must be contained in cells because its small size would lead it to clog and damage blood filtering organs such as the kidneys. This free-floating nature allows for higher densities of hemocyanin in the blood (as compared to hemoglobin), and helps offset its low efficiency.

UPDATE :

With a thicker blood plasma, carrying the more numerous protien Hemocynanin, a tau would require a higher blood pressure than a human.

How so ?

When blood enters the arteriole end (pushed from the heart) of a capillary, it is still under pressure (the Turgor Pressure, made by the heart pumping is measured as Torr, in this case 35 'torr&#39 produced by the contraction of the ventricles of their heart. As a result of this pressure, a substantial amount of water, oxygen and some plasma proteins filter through the walls of the capillaries into the tissue space.

Thus fluid, called interstitial fluid, is simply blood plasma minus most of the proteins, eg. the larger Hemocyanin protiens, which would no be lose their blue hue after passing on the oxygen.

Interstitial fluid bathes the cells in the tissue space and substances in it can enter the cells by diffusion or active transport. Substances, like carbon dioxide, can diffuse out of cells and into the interstitial fluid.

Near the venous end (returning to heart) of a capillary, the blood pressure is greatly reduced (15 torr). Here another force comes into play. Although the composition of interstitial fluid is similar to that of blood plasma, it contains a smaller concentration of proteins than plasma and thus a somewhat greater concentration of water. This difference sets up an Osmotic Pressure. Although the osmotic pressure is small (~ 25 torr), it is greater than the blood pressure at the venous end of the capillary. Consequently, the fluid reenters the capillary here.

Now for humans, too much salt in your system causes high blood pressure, affecting this carefully balanced transfer of interstitial fluid. For tau, we know they like salt and enjoy salty foods (Kill Team, Fire Warrior), it is beneficial for them to have a higher sodium content than a human to maintain a higher blood pressure for more effective interstitial fluid transfer. Also, a higher water content adds to pressure. A tau would be wise not to dehydrate to quickly, possibly more so than a human.

This actually supports the rather generalist evolutionary traits of humans. Whilst highlighting the marked preference tau have for hot, humid worlds.

Overall, with these assumptions based on human systems, we can consider that the tau have stronger circulatory muscles and blood vessel walls to withstand the higher blood pressure. They have higher salt and water content which means their filtering organs differ in chemical output, types of chemicals and even their bodies intake is markedly different to a human. Interestingly, these needs also lead to aging issues and problems in humans, a possible shorter lifespan ?

With regard to a tau's nasal gill slit and providing oxygen, it is much like our nose in breathing ability, just carries more sensory receptors. They would probably have similar lungs to us even.


Hope you learnt something fellow tau.

~ Fio' Tael
Physiology and Biology labs, Sa'Cea Fio'Ar'Tol.
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 06:45   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

I did learn something... You have much too much free time on your hands. It was a nice read though.
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 06:53   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

Valmar, I wish I had more free time. This is something I've been reading up on for a few weeks. A recent post in another thread galvanised me to bring all my notes/links together. Took about 15mins to compile.

Glad you enjoyed the result.
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 07:56   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

Brilliant.
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 09:45   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

Great stuff Tael, I especially like all the pictures you draw and the one in your sig though!

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Old 16 Aug 2005, 10:01   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

Now that I've got time to make a more thorough responce, I shall...

TO: Ordo Xenos Primaris, Terra.
FROM: Hlane, Englan Draconis, Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Lord.
SUBJECT: Tau Biological makeup.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Regardless of colour, the Xeno still bleeds...

Noble Lords.
Enclosed above is a copy of a stolen Tau data-text, exact origin and authenticity unknown.

This concept definately explains some elements of the Tau, but it isn't just about skin colour. Tau skin is dry and leathery, so wouldn't that reduce pigmentation due to blood? Someone else will need to confirm this, for I am no biologis. If so, then it's probably ancestral camouflage that their race never evolved out of.

It also explains slower reflexes; people become lethargic and easily exhausted when deprived of oxygen. Tau blood carries less oxygen than human blood, thus does not allow them to react as quickly (if they did, they'd burn up all their oxygen). However, Tau do not exibit the symptoms of oxygen deprivation because it is their natural state; their bodies have evolved, as suggested, to require less oxygen.

There is still one unanswered question; why would the Tau have this system at all? Nature is constantly evolving more efficient ways for creatures to survive, the most extreme examples being the Tyranids.

My conclusion in this matter is that the Tau race have never needed excessive physical attributes. If their species evolved on a world devoid of predators, then only habitat would limit their population. Assuming this is the case (Tau do seem to be primarily, though not completely, vegetarian), a simple grazing lifeform of slight build would not require large oxygen supplies. As the race evolved, their technology, rather than their evolution, overcame any hardships they faced, much like the evolution of Humanity.

Thus it is that the Tau have been left with a defective evolution, which through lack of outside stimuli, has never altered. Whilst the Tau are not currently a major Imperial threat, we should begin studying methods to use this biological makeup against them (as previous records confirm, drugs such as Onslaught or Rage stimulant have a catastrophic affect on the Tau physiology, where the body cannibalises itself at a rate 400% greater than a human user).

Be thankful for their genetic weaknesses, for their technology lacks them.
-Inquisitor Draconis.
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 13:12   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

Also, general feeling is that T'au is a dry, arid desert planet, and Tau usually perfer atmospheres low in moisture and humidity. Deserts invariably have smaller amounts of vegetation and therefore less carbon dioxide to oxygen conversion, more salinated water, worse erosion, etc. Thicker, less oxygen-rich blood may have been an adaptation developed in order to survive on a planet which has a very low capacity for oxygen creation. It would also be a beneficial adaptation for dealing with low-oxygen environments, such as high altitude, and may have developed technology to extract enough breathable oxygen out of water for SCUBA "gills".

As a point of clarification, are the hemocyanins larger than hemoglobin (as in the text), or the other way around (as in the pictures)?
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 13:19   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

That's excellent...

It would also explain why the Tau have zero knowledge on human medical practices, since their blood would be totally different to their own and thus their organs work differently.

~Andromidius
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 13:29   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andromidius
That's excellent...

It would also explain why the Tau have zero knowledge on human medical practices, since their blood would be totally different to their own and thus their organs work differently.

~Andromidius
to take this the next step, we need not assume the Tau have similar veins and arteries either.* A less efficient carrier would mean adaption.* Some possible adaptations would be larger viens and arteries, two hearts, multiple chambered hearts, a system based on turger pressure, or maybe even some modified version of cold blooded qualities (dry, warm).* Perahps their system is osmotic rather than circulatory; this would account for weakness and small size, but then so would a protein poor diet.

Overall, a nice peice of fluffology Tael.

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Old 16 Aug 2005, 13:37   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: [THEORY] Tau blood is blue and here's why..

Osmotic system seems to fit with their overall feel, I agree.

It's like a fish trying to understand a mammal, which is pretty much what GW are suggesting with the origins of the Tau.

Also note that GW rare use the word 'desert' to describe T'au, and use the word 'savannah' instead. There's not a huge difference, but a savannah has alot more grass and is more able to support life then a desert.

~Andromidius
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