links for 2010-11-05

  • As was elucidated by Haldane, large animals do not look like small animals: an elephant cannot be mistaken for a mouse scaled up in size. The bones of an elephant are necessarily proportionately much larger than the bones of a mouse, because they must carry proportionately higher weight. Because of this, the giant animals seen in horror movies (e.g., Godzilla) are unrealistic, as their sheer size would force them to collapse. However, it's no coincidence that the largest animals in existence today are giant aquatic animals, because the buoyancy of water negates to some extent the effects of gravity. Therefore, sea creatures can grow to very large sizes without the same musculoskeletal structures that would be required of similarly sized land creatures.

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