News Stories

Why Monsters are Rare

We recently put up a series of stories on the science behind the remake of the film King Kong. It turns out that there is a limit to how large?and thus how dangerous?mammals can become.

Seth Shostak writes in space.com that huge, unknown creatures are still being discovered here on Earth. As recently as 2004, Japanese researchers photographed a giant squid in the Pacific. Up until that time, the huge squid had been assumed to be a legend similar to that of the Loch Ness monster. A year earlier, in 2003, an even bigger squid was found off the coast of Antarctica.

Biologists know that there is a limit to how large a mammal can be, because strength does not increase in proportion to size. A gorilla the size of King Kong would have been too weak to be dangerous. Elephants and whales?the largest mammals on Earth?are vegetarians, so they don't have to be especially strong predators.

Art credit: www.freeimages.co.uk

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