Daily Archives: 26 January 2011

What’s the world’s largest living thing?

What is the biggest organism you can think of?

If you said the Blue Whale, then you’re thinking like a mammal. Sure, as animals related to humans go, the Blue Whale is pretty big. The longest ever measured was over 33 metres long, which is longer than a bus, and the heaviest was around 171,000 kilograms. That’s the combined mass of over 2000 average sized humans. They are the biggest animal ever to have lived, bigger than the largest dinosaurs currently known.

How about plants? The largest individual plant known is the General Sherman, a Giant Sequoia, or Sequoiadendron giganteum in the Sequoia National Park in California, that is just over 80 metres tall. Although some have argued that the Australian Mountain Ash, Eucalyptus regnans, has been known to grow taller, General Sherman is the bigger, with a volume of just under 1500 cubic metres. The trunk by itself – and don’t forget, a tree has around the same root area as it does shoot area – is estimated to weigh at least 1800 metric tonnes.

But neither of these even comes close to the truly massive size of the largest ever recorded organism…

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