an odd super whale question

From: Pieter Folkens (animalbytes@earthlink.net)
Date: Wed Mar 26 2003 - 02:07:01 EST

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    > My baseball team and I have a rather unusual question that we feel
    > needs the opinion of someone who knows more than we do. Somehow, we
    > stumbled onto the question of who would win a water fight between 1)
    > all the humans in the world morphed into one giant human or 2) all the
    > whales in the world morphed into one giant whale with the best
    > characteristics of the different types of whales (kind of like a whale
    > all-star team combined into one whale). We'd appreciate your thoughts.
    >
    > Sincerely,
    > Kyle Peterson

    What kind of water fight? water pistols, air-charged SooperSoakers, or
    fire engines?

    One measure might be found by answering a basic question: which would
    be bigger the giant human or the giant whale?

    Let's say the average human weighs 180 lbs. The larger whales weigh
    about 3000 lbs per foot. A standard blue whale is about 85' long, or
    about 255,000 lbs. Therefore, it takes about 1,416 humans to make one
    stock blue whale. With about 9,000 blue whales in the world, that means
    it would take 12,750,000 humans to equal the biomass of the blue whales
    in the world.

    Since your question makes a few odd assumptions, let's go a step
    further and assume blue whales were never hunted and the oceans had a
    natural/normal compliment of blues. This would extrapolate to
    1,262,250,000 humans to equal the normal biomass of the blue whale in
    historic times.

    So if we took only the present day humans with the historic blue
    whales, the giant human would be five times larger than the whale. If
    you go back about a hundred years and took all the humans at that time
    compared to the blue whales at that time, the biomass comparison would
    probably tilt in favor of the blue whale.

    However, you said humans and whales. Your question has a huge inherent
    problem. Humans are one species in the order of Primates. Whales are in
    the order Cetacea which contains about 80 different species. Since your
    question implies different types of whales, you'd need to include all
    the other whale species. In fairness you could compare all the whales
    in the family Balaenopteridae with all the primates in the family of
    Man. The "family of Man" includes all of the pongid apes (chimps,
    bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, humans, etc.). Another proper comparison
    would be all the whale species in the order Cetacea with all the
    Primates (including old world monkeys, new world monkeys, lemurs, and
    apes).

    The bottom line: qualify your question more fairly, then do the math.

    Cheers,

    Pieter Folkens



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