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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

We live in a world with a dazzling variety of life; from the tiniest virus to truly colossal organisms. Let's take a look at the largest life forms living in our world today.

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Today's Random Fact:

1. Largest flower

The Corpse flower, also known as Rafflesia arnoldii. The poetically named posy boasts the largest bloom in the world, measuring in at 3-feet wide with blossoms that weigh 15 pounds.

2. The largest animal

The blue whale. When a baby blue whale is born, it measures up to 25 feet and weighs up to three tons. Growing to lengths of up to 100 feet and weighing up to 200 tons, the blue whale is, in fact, the biggest animal known to live on Earth.

3. The heaviest known organism

In Utah's Fishlake National Forest in Utah there lives a massive grove of trees called Pando, which is actually a single clonal colony of a male quaking aspen. Nicknamed the Trembling Giant, this enormous root system is comprised of some 47,000 stems that create the grove. All together - with all of the individual trunks, branches and leaves - this quivering organism weighs in at an estimated 6,600 short tons. It is the heaviest known organism on the planet, and perhaps even more impressive is its age. Conservative estimates put it at 80,000 years old, making it also the oldest living thing known to man.

4. The largest land animal

The African bush elephant holds the title for largest land animal. Reaching lengths of up to 24 feet and gaining heights of 13 feet, these beautiful gray beasts weigh in at 11 tons. Their trunks alone can lift objects of more than 400 pounds.

5. The largest tree by volume

The world's largest tree is a stately giant sequoia, known as General Sherman in California's Sequoia National Park. This majestic arboreal master is about 52,500 cubic feet in volume.

6. The largest invertebrate

The aptly named colossal squid is the world's largest squid species and the largest invertebrate on the planet. They can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds and can grow to 30 feet long. That's a lot of calamari.

7. The tallest land animal

The title of the world's tallest mammal belongs to the giraffe. The legs of these even-toed ungulates are taller than many people. Giraffes can grow to heights of 19 feet and can weigh as much as 2,800 pounds. They can sprint up to 35 miles-an-hour over short distances.

8. The largest reptile

As the largest of living reptiles - as well as the largest terrestrial and riparian predator in the world - the saltwater crocodile can reach lengths of 22 feet and can weigh in at 4,400 pounds.

9. The heaviest bird

The ostrich is the world's heaviest bird, with a weight of 350 pounds and a height of 9 feet. While they cannot fly, they can sprint up to 43 miles an hour and run long distance at 31 miles an hour.

10. The largest thing of all

In 1998 a single colony of honey fungus was discovered in the Malheur National Forest in east Oregon that covered an area of 3.7 square miles, and occupied some 2,384 acres.

The discovery was remarkable in that not only would the massive specimen be recognized as the world's largest known organism, but based on its growth rate, the fungus is estimated to be 2,400 years old - and maybe as old as 8,650 years - making it one of the planet's oldest living organisms as well.

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