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  • If I were to ask you what's the largest thing to have ever lived on planet earth, most people

  • would say... THE BLUE WHALE OF COURSE! But, despite popular belief... it's not!

  • So, what on earth... is or should I say was?

  • I'm Stu, this is Debunked, and we're here to sort the truth from the myths and the facts

  • from the misconceptions.

  • Okay, so if the Blue Whale sets the benchmark by which all other living creatures are measured,

  • it probably makes sense to first establish just how BIG a Blue Whale can get?

  • The biggest one ever discovered was found in the Southern Ocean of Antarctica back in

  • 1947. it weighed in at a hefty 190 metric tons (209.4 US TONS / 418,878 lb),

  • which is the equivalent to 104 standard family SUVs. It also measured a huge 27.6 meters

  • (90 ft 6 in) long, close to the length of a short haul airliner (Airbus 318)

  • and its estimated volume was roughly the size of 7 fuel trucks, at 223 cubic meters (7875

  • feet3). Remember that for later

  • What could possibly out-size something this massive?

  • Well, whales first appeared around 40 million years ago, so to find out what could possibly

  • top such a titan,

  • it would make sense to take a look at this prehistoric era of Earth's history,

  • when great monstrous-sized beasts walked the planet,

  • plants were the size of VWs and colossal creatures swam in our oceans.

  • So, let's start with dinosaurs... or more accurately Titanosaurs

  • - a group of four legged veggiesaurus' with long tails and small heads.

  • The largest of these dinosaurs to have ever walked the Earth is believed to be the Argentinosaurus.

  • Its discovery in the 1990s stunned paleontologists the world over,

  • with a length of 35 meters and a weight of 70 metric tons (tonnes / 70,000kg)!

  • Put this next to most people's common point of dino sized reference - the T-Rex, and it

  • dwarfs the goat eating carnivore.

  • However the title was hotly contended in 2017 by the discovery of the Patagotitan mayorum.

  • This titanosaur was believed to have a skeleton 10% larger than the Argentinosaurus,

  • but recent weight estimations put it just shy at 69 tonnes.

  • Both Titanosaurs maybe longer than the whale, but put the Argentinosaurus

  • and the Patagotitan on a set of scales and the pair together wouldn't out weigh our

  • big blue heffer.

  • ----

  • In fact, Whales are so much larger because they live in the ocean.

  • On land, animals suffer the full effect of gravity, but for sea based organisms;

  • the water's buoyancy reduces the strain on their muscles and skeletons, allowing them

  • to grow to such vast sizes.

  • When something as huge as a blue whale becomes beached or stranded on land,

  • their muscles can't support their body weight out the water and they will basically be crushed

  • to death under their own weight.

  • So with the ocean providing the best environment for a creature to super-size itself,

  • let's take a look in to the deep blue, and more specifically the Cretaceous period to

  • see what competition there would have been...

  • Now anyone who's witnessed this scene before will surely think that this prehistoric monster

  • offers some competition for a Blue Whale?

  • That, is a Mosasaur

  • and THAT is a GREAT WHITE SHARK serving as an amuse bouche.

  • Now, if this is your average sized Great White then the Mosasaur would make up the length

  • of about 9 of these sharks.

  • With your average Great White measuring in at 5.3 meters, that means the Mosasaur measures

  • in at nearly 48 METERS!

  • And this is how our Blue Whale sizes up against this leviathan!

  • But here's where Hollywood gets carried away with itself

  • Mosasaurs aren't believed to have grown any longer than 18 meters,

  • with the largest one to have been excavated sitting at a modest 15 meters,

  • meaning Jurassic World's reptile is grotesquely inaccurate.

  • Anyway that's enough science fiction, let's get back to the science fact.

  • What is the largest creature to have ever swam in our oceans?, Fortunately, a discovery

  • in 2018 may have the answer.

  • Measuring in at nearly 26 meters, that's only just short of our largest blue whale,

  • it's believed that this giant Ichthyosaur may have been the largest aquatic reptile

  • ever!

  • However, with its dolphin-like shape, a long pointy jaw and streamlined body, it's estimated

  • weight falls far below that of the Whale,

  • meaning the Blue Whale still stands as the largest animal to have ever swam in our planet's

  • waters.

  • Let's leave the wet stuff behind now and head back to land,

  • where the competition to be crowned largest living thing is starting to hot up.

  • What stands taller than the largest dinosaurs and doesn't suffer the effect of gravity

  • like other living, breathing organisms?

  • The trees

  • As we travel to the coast of California, we'll find the Redwoods National Park,

  • and here you'll see, Hyperion!

  • Even fantasy doesn't top this living behemoth, take a recent incarnation of Godzilla and

  • put it next to the Sequoia,

  • and it stands around 10% taller at a staggering 115.85 meters!

  • And if Godzilla's not your thing then take a look at how the Statue Of Liberty sizes

  • up!

  • Yet, height isn't everything, we're after the largest and that doesn't necessarily

  • mean the tallest, so for that we need to travel down the coast to meet General Sherman,

  • a 2,100 year old Giant Sequoia. He may stand at a humble 82.6 meters (271 ft) tall by comparison,

  • but has a whopping volume of 1,487 cubic meters (52,513 cubic feet),

  • blowing old Bluey out of the water! Because in fact you could squeeze around 7 blue whales

  • inside this tree.

  • When the General's root system is taken in to account it's believed that this single

  • organism would weigh 1,814 tonnes (4,000,000 lb)!

  • And, as astounding as those stats are, there was once a tree larger than the General

  • , measuring 1,727 cubic meters, but it was sadly cut down in the 1940s.

  • However, even with these giants of the forest,

  • believe it or not we've still not found the largest thing to have ever lived on our

  • planet

  • To find what we're looking for, we need to travel to the Blue Mountains Of Eastern

  • Oregon,

  • and here you won't find the largest living organism towering over the forest,

  • swimming through the lakes or stomping around the mountains.

  • Instead, we need to look below our feet. Under the forest floor of the Malheur National Forest,

  • you'll find something that you may not have expected to come out on top in this video.

  • While we've been looking at all the relevant Kingdoms of Life on planet earth,

  • there's one we're forgettingFungi (Fun-gee), OR Fungi (Fun-guy) or Fungi (Fun-jei),

  • depending on where you're from!

  • Here, on the ground, we find the Armillaria ostoyae, or more commonly known as the Honey

  • Fungus.

  • All that we generally see is the fruiting body, what we would consider a mushroom or

  • toadstool.

  • But this is often only 10% of a fungus, the rest of the organism, the vegetative part,

  • is below the earth.

  • To make this concept more familiar, imagine this as a fruit tree, and you'd see the

  • leaves,

  • branches and stems all below ground with only the fruit appearing above.

  • This fungus however is no ally to trees. The Honey Fungus is actually devouring the forest

  • from the ground up.

  • Now most people won't think of fungi as tree killers,

  • as they are in fact a cornerstone to the entire ecosystem of a forest,

  • usually breaking down organic debris like fallen leaves and transferring essential minerals

  • to the plants.

  • Here, however, the Armillaria ostoyae has a much more parasitic purpose.

  • It attaches itself to the forest's conifer trees and begins to feed off of their roots,

  • killing the tree in the process.

  • Nicknamed the Humongous Fungus, the wealth of trees in this area has enabled it to spread

  • far and wide,

  • and currently this fungi stretches across 2,200 acres or 8.9 square kilometers (3.4

  • square miles) below the soil!

  • To put what you are seeing here in to perspective, that is the equivalent...

  • of around 1,700 NFL football fields, or 36,500 tennis courts.

  • Now, the discovery of the Humongous Fungus sparked debate as to what constitutes a 'single

  • living organism'.

  • But it can be succinctly summed up by Biology Professor Tom Volk...

  • Which is exactly what the Honey Fungus is, meaning this is indeed a single living organism,

  • just like the Giant Sequoia or the Blue Whale.

  • And it's not just the extensive area it covers that makes the Armillaria ostoyae so

  • huge,

  • it's discoverer James B. Anderson from the University of Toronto recently surveyed the

  • site, and now estimates

  • that if the entire fungus were dug up out of the ground and weighed,

  • it would top the scales at 400 tonnes, more than double the heft of a Blue Whale!

  • But, as with anything at this scale, it brings with it some controversy.

  • There is another single organism spread over a vast area that is touting for the same title

  • of Largest Living Organism.

  • Head down to Utah and you'll find this huge tree

  • ...nope back out a littlethere. This, is one, tree.

  • Known as the 'Trembling Giant' OR 'Pando' (Latin for “I, Spread.”)

  • this entire grove of 47,000 Quaking Aspen trees has grown from a single root system.

  • You see, Aspens find most success in regenerating 'vegetatively',

  • meaning sprouting from roots (not from seedlings), this results in what's termed a 'clone'.

  • Just like the Honey Fungus, this forest is genetically identical and it behaves as one

  • organism.

  • With the changing seasons, the whole forest changes color and sheds all its leaves in

  • unison.

  • And, most fascinatingly, as an old tree dies in the clonal grove, signals are sent from

  • the tree out to the network of roots,

  • which then stimulate new growth for the next generation to replace the old.

  • Now this colony may look substantially more impressive than the humble honey Fungus,

  • but... we're only looking at 106 acres.

  • Less than 5%, of the area covered by the Fungus.

  • So surely there's no competition? Well, the complications come when weight is included

  • in the criteria.

  • As we've learnt the Humongous Fungus weighs in at 400 tonnes, where as it's estimated

  • that Pando smashes through that record weighing a colossal sixthousand tonnes!

  • In fact the 'United States Department Of Agriculture' list the both Pando and the

  • Humongous Fungus as the 'Largest Organism On Earth'

  • So, surely the only way that this can be settled is to confirm it with the great holders of

  • such titles,

  • over at the Guinness World Records.

  • Well no, the record for 'Largest Living Organism' seems so controversial that even

  • Guiness haven't yet declared it.

  • According to their records, Pando is confirmed as the 'Most Massive Plant'

  • while the Honey Fungus holds the record for 'Largest Fungi'.

  • The most common criteria, however, that declares anything as 'Largest' is specified under

  • 'Area Covered'.

  • And under this, the Humungus Honey Fungus is the outright winner.

  • Even if you took into account the total estimated volume of the two contenders

  • then the Armillaria Ostoyae decimates the Quaking Aspen at more than double its size.

  • Pando is however, believed to hold the slightly less grandiose record for

  • 'Largest Known Organism On Earth In Terms Of Dry-Weight Mass'

  • as fungi are around 92% water. (Trees = 50% Water)

  • On the other hand, the Humongous Fungus has increased in size with subsequent surveys,

  • where as, sad but true, Pando is dying.

  • It has substantially reduced over the past 70 years due to human interference.

  • And, it's thought that within the next 10 to 20 years, up to 80% of the entire grove

  • could collapse.

  • Dr Paul Rogers, an Ecologist who recently led a conservation effort to protect Pando,

  • has said...

If I were to ask you what's the largest thing to have ever lived on planet earth, most people

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What's The Largest Thing To Ever Live On Earth? DEBUNKED

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    Peter   に公開 2019 年 02 月 28 日
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