Why Do Some Animals Get Gigantic?

Get your first KiwiCo box free by going to

Occasionally, internal or external factors change, allowing certain animals to become giant versions of themselves.

Thanks also to our supporters on

To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Spiracles: External respiratory openings on insects
Carboniferous Period: The time period from 359-299 million years ago when the Earth’s oxygen levels increased rapidly.
Square-Cube Law: A mathematical principle that describes the relationship between area and volume.
Buoyancy: An upward force exerted by a fluid that opposes the weight of an immersed object.
Phytoplankton: Microscopic plants eaten by krill and other zooplankton.
Baleen: A filter-feeding system inside the mouth of some whales.


Subscribe to MinuteEarth on YouTube:
Support us on Patreon:
And visit our website:

Say hello on Facebook:
And Twitter:

And download our videos on itunes:

Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg)
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
Video Narrator: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Alex Reich, Peter Reich
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:

Kaiser, A., et al. (2007). Increase in tracheal investment with beetle size supports hypothesis of oxygen limitation on insect gigantism. 13198-13203. PNAS. Retrieved from:

Sander, P. Christian, et al. (2011). Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs:the evolution of gigantism. Biological Reviews. 86(1): 117–155. Retrieved from:

Taylor, M and Weder, M. (2013). Why sauropods had long necks; and why giraffes have short necks. PeerJ 1:e36. Retrieved from:

Verberk, W. and Bilton, D. (2011). Can Oxygen Set Thermal Limits in an Insect and Drive Gigantism? PLOS One. 6(7): e22610. Retrieved from:

Slater, G., Goldbogen, J., Pyenson, N. (2017). Independent evolution of baleen whale gigantism linked to Plio-Pleistocene ocean dynamics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284: 20170546. Retrieved from:

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Why Do Planes Fly So High?
Counting triangles
An Indigenous Perspective on Humanity’s Survival on Earth @TED #shorts #ted
Adult Cats Only Meow At Humans #shorts
“Girls are leaving the boys way behind.” #shorts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *