Beats Per Life
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. But first, we need heart rate data for as many species as possible.
The Beats Per Life Project is an effort to consolidate reports of the heart rate and lifespan of as many vertebrate species as possible. Scanning through old books and papers, we have already found data on more than 150 species of mammals. Now we are requesting help from scientists and non-scientists alike to help us track down records for species of birds, reptiles and fish. Participants submit data through an online form to be integrated into the database.