Subject: Re: whales

Kim Marshall (
Mon, 7 Sep 1998 11:53:17 -0400

Is the a certain whale that has a heart that weighs approximately 1200 to 1400

Yes it is certain that there is a whale that has a heart that weighs over
1200 pounds.  Please search WhaleNet's pages on blue whales for other size
comparisons - but in reference to your question I have taken a passgae from
the book "Among Whales" by Roger Payne, President of the Whale Conservation

"In a large blue whale the heart weighs about four thousand pounds (2 tons)
and probably pumps about sixty gallons with each beat.  Its valves would be
about the size of a hub cap, and a child could crawl through the aorta, the
largest blood vessel leaving the heart.  So large are the arteries that
even sixty feet aft of the heart, where the main artery has narrowed down
to a diameter needed to support just the last few muscles attached to the
last few vertebrae, this vessel is still about the size of the sewer pipes
that carry waste water away from the average house - large enough, that is,
to allow a good sized trout to swim leisurely along it."  The heart
contracts about 18-20 beats per minute or once every three seconds.

In my opinion other species of adult great whales like the right whale and
fin whale would probably have heart sizes of 1200 to 14000 pounds.

Great question!  Thank you, Kim

Kim Marshall-Tilas                                   (781) 259-0423
Whale Conservation Institute                          fax: 259-0288
191 Weston Road                      website:
Lincoln, MA  01773
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