What is the secret to a long life? The heartbeat of some animals may hold a clue. We are consolidating 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 need your help tracking down records for species of birds, reptiles and fish!
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.
- Pick any species we don’t yet have in our database.
- Do some data sleuthing! Dig around in the literature for any study that recorded the species’ resting heart rate. We have some guidelines to get you started.
- Enter your record information into our online form!