How big can an animal get? What size is implausible?

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munsterspeek
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How big can an animal get? What size is implausible?

Postby munsterspeek » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:27 pm

A lot of sci-fi does giant monsters, and just assumes they will be giant versions of the same thing. Going back to Them! and other radioactive monsters like Godzilla, Hollywood movies often size up something and then throw it up on the screen. You can even see this in Cloverfield and to some extent the recent Norwegian film The Troll Hunter.

I think the real science would be more interesting.

I wonder what sort of physics are involved. There is a lot of scientists already blogging or even submitting papers about this, maybe one of them would make a good guest? Does anyone know someone who would be a good guest for the show?

http://kaiju.boomcoach.com/gallery/biology.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lz4v-ZdSG8U
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=ca ... HI6mUP8_5Q
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2005PhTea..43..530T

I think it tails well, too, into the real scientific question: what is the upper size limit on animals?

Apatosaurus, for instance, has very special physical adaptations. The ideas of them "swimming" in swamps using their long necks to "snorkle" in deep water which is physically, I am told, problematic, but it used to be a common to hear scientist speculate on that. I've heard there were periods of time with higher levels of oxygen in the atmosphere that produced ( or allowed for ) giant snakes and so on.

Speaking skeptically, I read some crazy theories on slashdot.org years ago about the constant of gravity changing over time to allow for some of the larger dinosaurs.

Some topics I'd like to know more about:

Why, specifically, allows whales and other sea animals getting larger than land animals?
What about Dwarfism on islands ( mini mammoths ) vs. giantism on islands ( giant birds or the komodo dragon )? What are the evolutionary forces that drive each option?
Is there an upper size limit for insects and arthropods?
Has nuclear fallout or radiation ever produced giants of any type?
What forces do produce giants?

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Gawdzilla Sama
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Re: How big can an animal get? What size is implausible?

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:34 pm

Seismosaurus has led to speculation of 300 ton dinos.
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Hex
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Re: How big can an animal get? What size is implausible?

Postby Hex » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:17 pm

I've heard of the oxygen problem. The more oxygen in the air the easier it is to circulate it throughout the body making larger animals to easily process oxygen than we have to today.

I've also heard about gravity in the water vs. gravity on land. Though they are the same, creatures that live in the ocean have buoyancy to help counteract the effects of gravity.

This explains that and more, better than I could.
Spoiler:
  TOYNBEE IDEA
IN KUBRICK'S 2001
RESURRECT DEAD
ON PLANET JUPITER  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwoaOJZ7Dfk


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