Matters Of Size
Friday, March 19, 2010 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact! I am deeply sorry I missed your fun fact last week, but I was stricken, nay pounded down by a horrid flu virus. But this week, I bring you things which make you go, "OMFG, that's huge!"

The Atlantic Giant Squid's eye can be as large as 15.75 inches wide.  All the better to watch you with, my dear.

The largest flying animal was the pterosaur which lived 70 million years ago. This reptile had a wing span of 39 feet and weighed 190-250 pounds. That's like a flying black bear!

The tentacles of the giant Arctic jellyfish can reach 120 feet in length. There is no cookie shelf too high for baked goods safety!

In a full grown rye plant, the total length of fine root hairs may reach 6600 miles. That would cross the US. Twice.

The world's largest amphibian is the giant Japanese salamander (left). It can grow up to 5 ft. in length.  A salamander that can eat your leg is
Fly So High
Friday, March 05, 2010 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact!

You are already experts on counter-current exchange and the way in which it allows efficient exchange of heat from veins to arteries.  It also allows animals which operate in a  low-oxygen environment to maximize the amount of oxygen in the blood using the same principle of running oxygen rich blood in parallel and opposite to oxygen poor blood in order to exchange the gas across vessel walls.

This is a really big deal if you are, say, a migrating bar-headed goose (right).  These striking birds fly at 29,000 feet, confidently flapping over the peaks of the Himalayas.  We're talking an altitude where the air is so thin, helicopters can't even fly.  They need these special physiological adaptations just to get to the other side of that inconveniently placed mountain range.

While these geese are certainly the trophy-winners at altitude, they are not the only high flyers out there.  An airliner once struck a mallard at 21,000 feet above Nevada.  Evidence of pintail ducks and black-tailed godwits have been found at 16,400 feet on a Himalayan glacier.  Even the tiny, delicate Monarch butterfly has been sighted at 11,000 feet up in the air.

Next time you see migrating critters passing overhead, take a moment to appreciate what it takes to get them there and the astounding achievements of which they are capable without even flinching.