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Gasp! 11 Surprising Facts About the Respiratory System

Pulmonary circulation was first described in the 13th century.

The human heart, shown in its place within the chest.

(Image credit: Human heart diagram (opens in new tab) via Shutterstock)

Pulmonary circulation is the process by which blood travels from the heart to the lungs and then back to the heart. This flow keeps the heart supplied with oxygen, which the blood picks up from the lungs.

In 1243, the Arab physician Ibn al-Nafis became the first person to describe this complicated process, when he detailed it in his work, "Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon."It wasn't until 300 years later that European scholars came to the same conclusion, according to a 2008 article in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Joseph Castro
Joseph Castro
Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master's degree in science journalism from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Hawaii. His work covers all areas of science, from the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, to the drug and alcohol habits of ancient cultures, to new advances in solar cell technology. On a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video games for as long as he can remember, and is probably playing a game at this very moment.