General, Research, Technology

Why did the whale heartbeat so surprise scientists?

Marine Biology Teaminhabitants, conducted a series of studies on the study of the largest creature on the planet - the blue whale. The results of the study greatly surprised experts, because it turned out that a huge animal is able to live with only two heartbeats per minute. In order to get the desired result, marine biologists had to attach special suction cups and a heart rate monitor to the whale, which constantly took measurements of the animal’s heartbeat. What else did scientists learn and what facts greatly surprised them?

The blue whale is the largest animal that has ever lived on our planet.

The biggest heart on earth

The blue whale is the representative of the largestan animal that could ever live on planet Earth. An adult blue whale has a length of up to 33 meters and, in order to ensure full blood supply to such a large organism, the animal needs a strong and large heart. There are versions that the heart of a blue whale weighs about 180 kilograms and looks like a golf cart.

According to the journal Proceedings of the NationalAcademy of Sciences, during the study, the largest living creature on Earth dived to a depth of 30 to 200 meters, periodically replenishing its lungs with air and the stomach with food. It is known that during deep dives for the purpose of hunting, the whale's pulse rate decreases sharply. Thus, if on the surface of the water the heart of the animal is reduced to 34 times per minute, then in the deepest waters this figure reaches only 2 beats per minute.

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Scientists have long discovered that the pulse of the blue whaleshould slow down significantly in depth in order to redistribute the oxygen consumption by the cells of the whole organism. When air-breathing mammals dive underwater, their bodies automatically begin to direct oxygen so that the heart and brain receive more oxygen than all other organs. Such a restructuring helps the animal for a long time to do without oxygen under water, leading to a significant slowdown in cardiac activity.

In order to confirm the pulse changes inblue whale during a dive, experts placed on one of the representatives of the largest mammals of the planet a special sensor that records the heart rate of the world's largest heart. A unique study was carried out for 9 hours, during which the whale either dived to the depths or rose to the surface. Falling to its minimum value, such a sharp decrease in the heart rate of the animal was due to the expanding aortic artery of the whale, which was slowly reduced so that the blood enriched with oxygen moves through the body of the animal.

The heart of a whale weighs about 180 kilograms

Upon returning to the surface, heart ratecontractions of the blue whale sharply accelerates to 25-37 beats per minute, and the heart begins to quickly supply the necessary dose of oxygen to the whole body. Scientists believe that such a heart rate is a natural physiological limit for an animal of this size. Perhaps it is for this reason that there is no other animal species on our planet that could at least slightly exceed the size of the largest mammal on the planet.