I remember one of the first things that I liked about moving to Jackson in November of 1996 was the quality of the water. Compared to the water in Columbus, it was like fresh mountain spring water compared to a glass of swimming pool water. My last column was about the importance of the air that we breathe, so I had to follow up with the second most important thing our bodies need: water.  

Water is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless and nearly colorless chemical substance. It is the main constituent of Earth’s hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms. It is vital for all known forms of life, even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients. Water is so essential for life as we know it that the search for extraterrestrial life begins with the search for liquid water. 

The human body contains up to 60% water. The brain and heart are about 73% water; the lungs are about 83% water; the skin is about 64% water; muscles and kidneys are about 79% water; and even our bones are about 31% water. When we think of animals that survive without water, most of us probably think about camels.

Camels in the Sahara Desert have been known to survive six months without water during the winter and up to ten days in the heat of summer. The average human can only last about three days without water. The kangaroo rat of the American southwest never drinks water in its lifetime. Their kidneys are so efficient that they extract enough water out of the seeds that they consume to survive. They also have ridiculously concentrated urine, which conserves the need for water.   

Australia has two species that can survive without drinking water. The koala bear absorbs all the water it needs through eucalyptus leaves. The thorny toad absorbs all its water through its skin. The Arabian sand gazelle is miles ahead of the camel; the gazelle has the ability to shrink its lungs and heart to conserve water. In times of need, the gazelle can even reabsorb its urine for moisture. Are you thirsty yet? I know I am! 

 

God bless you all

RHM