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Figure 1. Arteries from many different animalsClick to Enlarge Image

An animal's cells need a constant flow of blood through the arteries to deliver nutrients and carry away wastes. How can that be accomplished with a pump—the heart—that cycles on and off? The pulsatile flow from the heart must be damped, or converted to a comparatively smooth flow, and that gets accomplished by elasticity in the arteries. Shadwick explains how an artery's elasticity smooths blood flow in a wide variety of animals. He also describes the arterial components that provide stretchiness and others that provide strength.

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