1.5 Billion Heartbeats Or So, Then You Are Done.

I heard this story on NPR's (National Public Radio) Weekend Edition this weekend.

A biologist has been studying the life spans of various animals. Larger animals generally live longer than smaller ones. Elephants live very long lives, squirrels live a few years.

The common denominator that the researchers found was that in almost every case, the average heart in every species beats 1.5 billion times and then stops. So little rodents with their super-fast heartbeat and short lifes get on average 1.5 billion beats and giant whales whose hearts beat 1x every 3 seconds or so get 1.5 billion.

We humans throw off the average because of our use of medicines and our improved hygiene. But, if not for those things, our average would also be 1.5 billion.

If I were religious I would be talking about the intelligent design of the creator, but as it stands I am just amazed by the workings of nature.

Enjoy your 1.5 billion or so heartbeats. Thump thump, thump thump, thump, thump........

internalarts internalarts
2 Responses Aug 18, 2007

I am guessing from the story that the parrots actually have a slow heartbeat. Here is a link to the story:<br />
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http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12877984<br />
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It is definately a law of averages, but the 1.5 billion beat seems to be something of a biological clock programmed into every species heart--no matter how different the species. Amazing stuff.<br />
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Come on--anyone in the EP have a friendly parrot and a stethoscope? What does Polly's heart sound like?

I think I've heard something like that before, that is pretty interesting. What about those big parrots and macaws that can live 80-100 years? I would think their heart-rate wouldn't be that slow, not nearly as slow as a giant tortoise or elephant. But I guess it is just a generality to say that things get 1.5 billion beats. There are exceptions to every rule.