The Tell-Tale Heart

Today’s factismal: The typical mammal’s heart will beat about 1,000,000,000 times in its lifetime.

Hearts. Every species has ’em from the smallest worm to the largest whale.  They move blood around the body, transporting nutrients and removing toxins. And, strangely enough, it doesn’t matter if the critter’s heart squeezes in five part harmony or thump-a-thump-a-thump-a’s the blood about; every mammal tends to have a heart that beats about a billion times in a lifetime.

A side view of the nose of a humpback whale (My camera)

A side view of the nose of a humpback whale
(My camera)

And that makes things very interesting indeed; based on that and the typical pulserate, you can estimate the average lifetime of a species. For example, the fastest heartbeat belongs to the tiny little Etruscan shrew whose heart clicks along at 835 beats per minute; that means that they typically live about 2 years and three months. And the slowest is 18 beats per minute in the blue whale, whcih gives it a lifetime of about 105 years. The average human has a heart rate of about 70 beats per minute which would mean that we have an average lifetime of 27 years if it weren’t for the fact that we also have the sturdiest hearts, clocking along at 2,500,000,000 beats!

Leonardo da Vicni's drawing of the human heart (Image courtesy Leonardo)

Leonardo da Vicni’s drawing of the human heart
(Image courtesy Leonardo)

Now facts like these don’t just appear from nowhere. They are carefully researched and measured by people like you. And if you’d like to be a person like you, then why not head over to Beats Per Life, a citizen science project dedicatted to discovering the heart facts for every species with a ticker. To learn more, pulse over to:
http://beats.robdunnlab.com/

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