A billion beats
Studies have concluded that all mammals get about a billion heartbeats per lifetime. They can use them at a rate of a thousand per minute, like the shrew, or space them out into slow, ponderous beats, over many years, as is the case for the Grey whale. But there are notable exceptions. Some species get more than their fair billion beats. The extent to which these species live beyond a billion beats must depend in part upon unique features of their biology. Whatever these features are, if we understood them, we might be able to figure out new ways to extend our own health, push our enfeebled and worn cells and hearts through a few more beats, maybe many. But first, we need heart rate data for as many species as possible.
We need data sleuths!
Our goal is to integrate the data from various sources into a single database, where they can be more readily accessible. The data we need may be one Google search away or buried deep within old work about unrelated topics.
Who Got the Beat?
Big thanks to our most recent contributing citizen scientists!
American White Pelican
Exploring the Heart
Check out Rob Dunn’s new book The Man Who Touched His Own Heart (available February 3rd, 2015) to learn the history and science of this amazing organ.
NPR’s Melissa Block talks to Rob about his new book, The Man Who Touched His Own Heart, a history of science and medicine’s efforts to understand the working of the human heart. Listen to the story on All Things Considered on NPR.
You can also read more in this online interview “A Heart-to-Heart with Rob Dunn.”