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(Vox)   Scientists determine that the blue whale is not only the biggest animal in the world, but also the biggest animal that could live in the world. This is based on the amount of food an animal can eat combined with heart size limitations   (vox.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Heart rate, heart of the blue whale, heart of the Etruscan shrew, Whale, Mammal, Humpback whale, largest animal, blue whale's chest  
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605 clicks; posted to STEM » on 12 Aug 2022 at 7:20 PM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-08-12 7:16:20 PM  
In other news according to scientists your mom doesn't exist
 
2022-08-12 7:36:45 PM  
There's no rule saying that animals can only have one heart. Cephalopods have three. Also, reptiles are a lot better than mammals at reducing their metabolic rate while waiting for the next meal to come along. Therefore a gigantic kaiju monstrosity could theoretically evolve (or be engineered) to feed on blue whales, letting them do the hard work of collecting krill and then swallowing all of those calories in one convenient package.
 
2022-08-12 7:47:16 PM  
resources.stuff.co.nzView Full Size


Alan knew...
 
2022-08-12 8:09:53 PM  
I saw a blue whale once, live and in person. It was absolutely amazing. You can't grasp how big they actually are until you see one gliding along next to your boat.
 
2022-08-12 8:12:33 PM  

calufrax: [resources.stuff.co.nz image 525x295]

Alan knew...


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2022-08-12 8:24:50 PM  

Ivo Shandor: There's no rule saying that animals can only have one heart.


There's also no rule saying that you have to RTFA before commenting, as you are happy to demonstrate.
 
2022-08-12 8:29:27 PM  

emtwo: Ivo Shandor: There's no rule saying that animals can only have one heart.

There's also no rule saying that you have to RTFA before commenting, as you are happy to demonstrate.


Obligatory: welcome to fark.
 
2022-08-12 8:33:29 PM  
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2022-08-12 8:35:09 PM  
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2022-08-12 8:41:42 PM  
Ah, like in that movie, Faster Pussycat, Krill Krill Krill.
 
2022-08-12 8:43:41 PM  

emtwo: Ivo Shandor: There's no rule saying that animals can only have one heart.

There's also no rule saying that you have to RTFA before commenting, as you are happy to demonstrate.


TFA posits a limit based on the maximum pumping capacity of the animal's heart. I'm pointing out that there is an implicit "N=1" assumption in that calculation. Hypothetically an animal could circulate twice as much blood per unit of time by duplicating the organ (while keeping the same size and BPM) and assigning one to each side of the body.
 
2022-08-12 8:55:40 PM  

Ivo Shandor: emtwo: Ivo Shandor: There's no rule saying that animals can only have one heart.

There's also no rule saying that you have to RTFA before commenting, as you are happy to demonstrate.

TFA posits a limit based on the maximum pumping capacity of the animal's heart. I'm pointing out that there is an implicit "N=1" assumption in that calculation. Hypothetically an animal could circulate twice as much blood per unit of time by duplicating the organ (while keeping the same size and BPM) and assigning one to each side of the body.


There is no implicit "N=1" assumption. The limit is based on the resources available and the energy required to consume them. A larger heart requires more energy consumption than is currently physically possible. This would also apply to adding a second heart.

They're basically saying that blue whales can consume a greater quantity of energy sources (krill) than any animal before, using less energy than any animal ever before, and therefore it is extremely unlikely that any Earth animal ever could have been or ever could be larger.
 
2022-08-12 9:09:31 PM  

emtwo: There is no implicit "N=1" assumption. The limit is based on the resources available and the energy required to consume them. A larger heart requires more energy consumption than is currently physically possible. This would also apply to adding a second heart.


TFA (which you have obviously read) states:

The EKG data shows that a single beat of the blue whale's heart takes about 1.8 seconds, which means its heart can only beat roughly 33 times per minute. [...] and it literally can't beat any faster.

But, again, a bigger heart would beat slower and require the animal to spend more time at the surface


Those limits apply to a single heart. Consider the case of two blue whales floating next to each other. Now Krazy-glue or duct-tape them together. You have now constructed an animal twice as large as you had before, but capable of maintaining the same duty cycle of feeding vs. re-oxygenating (as long as they can both agree to synchronize their swimming). Total energy consumption doubles, but it can consume twice as much krill on each dive.

The same principle would apply if a genetic mutation duplicated hearts within a single animal and rearranged the internal plumbing a bit to give each one its own lung, aorta, kidney, etc. The heart(s) would no longer be the limiting factor.
 
2022-08-12 9:16:58 PM  

Ivo Shandor: Consider the case of two blue whales floating next to each other. Now Krazy-glue or duct-tape them together.


My small-scale experiments with possums says there are large flaws (and bites) in your theory.
 
2022-08-12 9:17:12 PM  

emtwo: Ivo Shandor: emtwo: Ivo Shandor: There's no rule saying that animals can only have one heart.

There's also no rule saying that you have to RTFA before commenting, as you are happy to demonstrate.

TFA posits a limit based on the maximum pumping capacity of the animal's heart. I'm pointing out that there is an implicit "N=1" assumption in that calculation. Hypothetically an animal could circulate twice as much blood per unit of time by duplicating the organ (while keeping the same size and BPM) and assigning one to each side of the body.

There is no implicit "N=1" assumption. The limit is based on the resources available and the energy required to consume them. A larger heart requires more energy consumption than is currently physically possible. This would also apply to adding a second heart.

They're basically saying that blue whales can consume a greater quantity of energy sources (krill) than any animal before, using less energy than any animal ever before, and therefore it is extremely unlikely that any Earth animal ever could have been or ever could be larger.


Yeah, jus tto add - there is a question of surface area in the lungs that can oxygenate blood, plus getting energy to mitochondria.

Larger hearts, with more mitchondria, and more surface area, would require more oxygen in the air, like the atmosphere of Pangea.
 
2022-08-12 9:22:21 PM  

Noticeably F.A.T.: Ivo Shandor: Consider the case of two blue whales floating next to each other. Now Krazy-glue or duct-tape them together.

My small-scale experiments with possums says there are large flaws (and bites) in your theory.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-08-12 9:25:48 PM  
You know why you can't evolve an exoskeleton, and walk around in a big shell?  Because you are too farking big.  Don't even think about it.
 
2022-08-12 9:29:49 PM  

cryinoutloud: You know why you can't evolve an exoskeleton, and walk around in a big shell?  Because you are too farking big.  Don't even think about it.


That's not true. I can make my exoskeleton out of hair. I could wave this fur of mine together and have padded armor AC8. My fingernails and toenails are tiny exoskeletons more powerful than shrimp tails, on par with a rhino horn.
 
2022-08-12 9:32:59 PM  
Now that science has solved that, will they now be able to tell us how many moons the Earth has?
 
2022-08-12 9:33:01 PM  

Ivo Shandor: Those limits apply to a single heart. Consider the case of two blue whales floating next to each other. Now Krazy-glue or duct-tape them together. You have now constructed an animal twice as large as you had before, but capable of maintaining the same duty cycle of feeding vs. re-oxygenating (as long as they can both agree to synchronize their swimming). Total energy consumption doubles, but it can consume twice as much krill on each dive.


I'm skeptical of this, though I don't know enough to say it's not at least theoretically possible. The multiple hearts idea suggests, as your own example illustrates, that it works best when it's actually supporting two independent animals that are not "one," with two independent circulatory systems and two independent pulmonary systems. If you combine the circulatory and pulmonary from both animals into one, you start running into oxygenation and pressure problems that may negate any theoretical advantage of a second heart. In any working example of your theory, I suspect there would be heated debate as to whether such an animal was actually one animal, or merely a new expression of symbiotism.

In any case, I am satisfied that you have in fact read the article. I remain unconvinced that simply positing a second heart resolves much.
 
2022-08-12 9:39:57 PM  

namegoeshere: You can't grasp how big they actually are until you see one gliding along next to your boat.


Yes you can
 
2022-08-12 10:16:47 PM  
The actual article was interesting... but the tacked-on justification for the study probably pulled from an offhand speculative comment in the abstract is more or less complete nonsense that should not be taken seriously.

More specifically, what's being discussed with the heart size / metabolic food demand relationship is an extremely, extremely loose correlation derived from an engineering approximation method called dimensional analysis, which is a method of empirical observation that essentially involves assembling variables and then zooming way the fark out from graphs of randomly-selected variables scatter-plotted against each other with specific known data points until something kinda looks like a line.

... most frequently, until something looks like a line on a log plot or a log-log plot.  If you don't know how many farking tonnes of salt I just told you to take with any guesses derived from this method, you might wanna back away from reading pop-science articles or at least taking them on faith in general because a lot of shiat is going to seem significantly more hype to you than it is and you're gonna end up believing a lot of... strange things.

While dimensional analysis is a good first step for noticing initial patterns that might be worth investigating or, as mentioned, in engineering when you're looking at data where all the unknown variables are probably in the same range you're working with and will eventually be measured in whatever you build before production anyhow, it is not a scientific technique and is not rigorously justified.  In scientific literature, this kind of correlation is treated as essentially an eyeball-approximation observation under uncontrolled conditions.  Not useless by any means, but not the same as actually truly noticing something that really exists, necessarily.

// You may have encountered this alternative-to-science version of empiricism before without realizing it: it is, for instance, how every number you've ever seen for "this dinosaur could run X miles per hour" comes from.  Someone measured a bunch of random variables related to living animals, charted them against each other at random, noticed that shoulder-to-ground distance correlated to observed top land speed for quadrupeds and bipeds on log-flat plots, drew a fit line (which became an exponential curve due to how log plots work), and assumed it held true for all the long-extinct dinos as well.  There is no actual physical or scientific justification for believing that a Triceratops could run at thirty mph or whatever.
 
2022-08-12 10:40:42 PM  
Each time a blue whale ejaculates, it produces some 300 gallons of seminal fluid. Of that, perhaps 30 gallons remains in the female's vestibule. That's why you don't drink seawater.
 
2022-08-13 7:02:12 AM  
The Chemical Brothers - The Test (Official Music Video)
Youtube yhS9LnDoo_w
 
2022-08-13 7:54:42 AM  

jaytkay: [Fark user image 602x389]


Ah, the food chain
 
2022-08-14 3:26:46 AM  
I read an article a while ago that said how many calories a blue whale ate in a day.

I did the math: 85,000 watts. Wow.
 
2022-08-14 5:46:13 AM  

Ivo Shandor: emtwo: Ivo Shandor: There's no rule saying that animals can only have one heart.

There's also no rule saying that you have to RTFA before commenting, as you are happy to demonstrate.

TFA posits a limit based on the maximum pumping capacity of the animal's heart. I'm pointing out that there is an implicit "N=1" assumption in that calculation. Hypothetically an animal could circulate twice as much blood per unit of time by duplicating the organ (while keeping the same size and BPM) and assigning one to each side of the body.


Two blue whales connected by a single strip of tissue become one animal twice as big!

Why stop at 2!
 
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