Posts Tagged ‘world records’

What is the World’s Largest Rabbit?

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Amy, reportedly weighing 22 kg is possibly the worlds largest rabbit. Photo: Paul Lewis.

Amy, reportedly weighing 22 kg is possibly the world's largest rabbit. Photo: Paul Lewis.

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the world’s largest rabbit is a Continental Giant called Amy.

Amy, from Worcester in the UK, is more than 120 cm (4 feet) long and weighs as much as a medium sized dog.  

Her weight? Well that depends on which report you choose to believe. In February this year, the Daily Mail reported that Amy weighs two and a half stone (15 kg). But then in March, it reported that the giant rabbit weighs three and a half stone (22 kg).

Perhaps she put on 7 kilograms within a month!

In any case, whichever weight it is, this could make Amy the heaviest rabbit in the world too.

Big Appetite

Amy’s owner, Annette Edwards, says that each day, Amy goes through enough rabbit food to fill a dog’s bowl, as well as two apples, a handful of carrots, half a cabbage and fresh hay.

But Mrs Edwards insists that Amy is quite healthy and not overweight.

“She is enormous but not because she over eats on junk but because she gets plenty of exercise and eats very healthily.”

“Amy is a fussy eater, the carrots must have their green tops still on, and the hay has to be fresh and green or she won’t go near it” she continues.

Other Large Rabbits & Previous Record Holders

Herman, a German Giant, weighing 7.7 kg

Herman, a German Giant, weighing 7.7 kg

There are a lot of large rabbits out there.

Here are some examples:

  • Herman, a German Giant reportedly weighing 7.7 kg (although he looks much heavier than that)
  • Rudi, also a German Giant, weighing 8.7 kg
  • Roberto, weighing in at 16 kilograms (possibly the world’s heaviest rabbit?)
  • Humphrey, weighing over 12 kg and still growing

Largest Rabbit Breed

The largest species of rabbit is the Flemish Giant. The largest Flemish Giant can grow to around 9.5 kg. The smallest weigh in at around 5 kg.

Flemish Giants are usually steel grey in colour. They are long with a large full head and the ears are long and erect.

The Flemish Giant’s diet should include plenty of fresh hay, fresh fruit and vegetables, a well-balanced dry rabbit mix and plenty of clean water.

Guinness Book of World Records

Amy or Roberto may be the largest and heaviest rabbits in the world, but they won’t be making it into the Guinness Book of World Records any time soon (at least, not for their size or weight).

Unfortunately, some rabbit owners cruelly over feed their rabbits in an attempt to get them into the record books. As a result, the Guinness World Records no longer lists the world’s largest (or heaviest) rabbit.

World’s Longest Insect Discovered - Over Half a Meter Long

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Worlds longest insect - a 56.7cm stick insect. Photo by Natural History Museum in Britain.

World's longest insect - a 56.7cm stick insect. Photo by Natural History Museum in Britain.

The world’s longest insect has been discovered in the Borneo rainforests and handed to the Natural History Museum in London.

The insect, a stick-insect, measures 56.7cm long. 

New Species

Not only is the stick-insect the world’s longest insect, it’s also a newly discovered species. The insect has been named Phobaeticus chani or “Chan’s Megastick” in honor of Datuk Chan Chew Lun, who donated the specimen to the Museum.

The dead insect was initially found 10 years ago by a collector who had no idea that it was the longest insect ever discovered, or that it was a new species. It wasn’t until an entomologist, Datuk Chan Chew Lun, saw it in the collection that the significance of the insect was realized.

Longest Body

Even without its legs, Chan’s Megastick has a body that measures 35.7cm. This is a world record for the longest insect body. 

Previous Record Holders

The previous record holder for longest insect was another stick-insect called Phobaeticus serratipes. It could also be found in Malaysia, as well as parts of Indonesia.

The previous record for the longest insect body was 32.8cm long, held by the Phobaeticus kirbyi, also from Borneo.

‘We’ve known about both of the previous record holders for over a hundred years, so it is extraordinary that an even bigger species has only just been discovered,’ said Dr George Beccaloni, stick-insect expert at the Natural History Museum.

Unique Eggs

Size isn’t the only thing special about Chan’s Megastick. It’s eggs are thought to be unique in the insect world. According to the Museum, “Each egg capsule has wing-like extensions on either side like a miniature golden snitch, allowing them to drift in the wind when the female drops them, thereby helping the species to spread”.

World’s Tallest Hardwood Tree Found in Australia

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The world’s tallest known hardwood tree has been found in Tasmania, Australia.

The tree, dubbed Centurion, is a eucalyptus tree (or eucalyptus regnans), standing at 101 meters tall. 

Forestry Tasmania managing director Bob Gordon says, “It is the only known standing hardwood tree in the world to be over 100 metres tall”.  

Actually, Centurion has broken two records. It is also the tallest flowering plant in the world.

According to some news reports, Centurion is the second tallest tree in the world - second only to this giant redwood. But I beg to differ. I can name 15 redwoods that are taller than Centurion

But not to take anything away from Centurion. Centurion is a hardwood tree. The giant California redwoods are softwood trees. Also, Centurion is classified as a flowering plant (and the tallest a that!).

Centurion is not the only tall eucalyptus tree to be seen in Australia. Eucalyptus trees are amongst the tallest trees ever recorded. The challenge these days, is to allow them to grow to their full potential without chopping them down.

Centurion, which measures 405 centimeters in diameter, is located about 5 kilometers from Tahune Airwalk, a popular tourist walk through the tree tops. Forestry Tasmania plan to create a boardwalk to Centurion so that the public can view the massive tree.

About the Name “Centurion”

A centurion was a professional officer of the Roman army in charge of 100 soldiers. Well, to be precise, centurions initially commanded a centuria, or “century” of 100 soldiers. Later, they commanded 60 men. Then this number rose to 80 soldiers.

Let’s hope that Centurion (the tree) doesn’t lose the number of trees its in charge of!

World’s Oldest Tree: Newcomer to the Record Books

Monday, April 21st, 2008

The world’s oldest tree has recently been discovered in Sweden. It is a tenacious spruce with a root system 9,550 years old.

The spruce, named Dalarna (“the dales”), was found on the Fulu Mountain in Sweden. It was dated by carbon dated at a laboratory in Miami, Flordia.

Many other trees in the area are of a comparable age. The scientists, led by Professor Leif Kullman at Umeå University, found another 20 species of spruce that are over 8,000 years old.

Professor Kullman says “Spruces are the species that can best give us insight about climate change,”

According to an article in the Telegraph:

The summers 9,500 years ago were warmer than today, though there has been a rapid recent rise as a result of climate change that means modern climate is rapidly catching up

Also, on how the tree survived so long:

The tree probably survived as a result of several factors: the generally cold and dry climate, few forest fires and relatively few humans.

Obviously, this record supercedes the previous record for the oldest tree that I wrote about earlier this year. At the time, it was understood that the oldest tree on Earth was Methuselah - a 4,769 year old Bristlecone Pine in California, US.

The World’s Largest Garbage Dump

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

World's largest garbage dumpIf I told you the world’s largest garbage dump was almost twice the size of continental United States would you believe me?

Well, that’s how big the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the collective name for two gigantic masses of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean. The two masses are known as the Western Pacific Garbage Patch and the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been described as a “plastic soup”. It consists of about 100 million tons of garbage, extending up to 100 feet below the surface, all being held together by the swirling currents of the ocean. The mammoth garbage patch is a result of general litter from both sea vessels and land. Here’s an animation showing the movement of the currents surrounding the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer, has compared it to a living entity, “moving around like a big animal without a leash”. Ebbesmeyer, who has tracked the build-up of plastics in the seas for more than 15 years, says that when the animal comes close to land “…the garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic”. Some beaches in Hawaii have been known to be buried in 10 feet of plastic garbage!

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore, an American oceanographer. He came across it by chance while taking a short cut home from a Los Angeles to Hawaii yacht race. After steering into the North Pacific gyre, he found himself surrounded by garbage. Not just a little bit of garbage, but a virtual continent of garbage. All day, every day, for about a week, his vessel sailed through a sea of garbage. Moore said “Every time I came on deck, there was trash floating by”.

Following this alarming discovery, Moore sold his oil business and became an environmental activist.

What’s being done about it?

Unfortunately, many scientists believe that it’s pretty much impossible to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They have also said that attempts to do so could actually do more harm to plankton and other marine life. In any case, the US government recently passed legislation to increase funding so that more clean up work can be done.

Image courtesy of Greenpeace

World’s Longest Water Monitoring Network

Friday, March 14th, 2008

You may have read my article about the Great Barrier Reef, and how it is under threat by overfishing, land-based pollution, and global warming. Well, because of these threats, the Department of Natural Resources and Water has created the world’s longest water monitoring network.

The network consists of complex monitoring equipment at 30 collection stations, covering 1500km of coastline, to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The idea behind this is that scientists will be able to track sediment, nutrient and chemical levels in the waterways which send water out to the reef. It is thought that these sediments and pollutants are contributing to the demise of the reef.

Of particular interest is water flow caused by events such as flooding. Now that the gigantic water monitoring network is in place, scientists will be able to learn exactly how much of an impact these events are having on the reef.

Largest Natural Feature on Earth

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Great Barrier ReefThe largest natural feature on earth is so large, that it can be seen from space!

Earth’s largest natural feature is the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is a massive collection of coral reefs located along the north eastern side of Australia. It is the world’s most extensive coral reef system and is one of the world’s richest areas in terms of faunal diversity.

The reef is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which at 35 million hectares, is the world’s largest World Heritage Area. About 98 percent of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which was declared in 1975 with the purpose of preserving the area’s outstanding biodiversity whilst providing for reasonable use.

Here are some interesting facts about the Great Barrier Reef:

  • There are more than 2900 coral reefs
  • 600 continental islands
  • 71 coral islands
  • 300 coral cays
  • 1500 species of fish
  • 4000 species of molluscs
  • 500 species of seaweed
  • 350 types of starfish and various echinoderms
  • More than 215 species of birds
  • 1.9 million tourists visit the Great Barrier Reef each year
  • The Great Barrier Reef is over 12,000 years old
  • The reef itself stretches more than 2300 km from the northern tip of Australia’s Queensland to just south of Bundaberg (also in the state of Queensland)
  • The Great Barrier Marine Park covers 348,000 square kilometers - that’s larger than the whole of the UK and Ireland combined!

The Great Barrier Reef is Under Threat

Unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef is under threat from overfishing, land-based pollution and coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is exacerbated by increased sea temperatures due to global warming. As a result of public campaigning and pressure from WWF, the Australian Government has committed to protecting 33% of the reef where it can (previously, only 4% had been protected).

Regarding the impact of global warming on the reef, it’s not just affecting the Great Barrier Reef. To date, 10% of all reefs around the world have been destroyed due to coral bleaching. At the current rate, 70% of the world’s reefs will be destroyed over the next 40 years.

As hopeless as this may sound, there are things we can do to help. By developing greener habits, we can all do our part in reducing global warming. For example, here are 5 ways to reduce greenhouse gases. And here are some simple steps you can take to live sustainably.

World’s Oldest Tree

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Ever wonder what the age of the oldest tree in the world is? Hundreds of years old? Thousands? Or maybe even hundreds of thousands of years old?

As with most natural living things on this earth, there’s some debate about exactly which tree is deemed to be the oldest. Regardless of the debate, here’s a list of some quite special (and old) trees/bushes:

  • UPDATE 20 April, 2008: Since posting this article, a new discovery has been made in Sweden. A tenacious spruce tree with a root system 9,550 years old.
  • The most likely contender at this stage is a tree that goes by the name of “Methuselah“. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Methuselah, would now be 4,769 years old. Methuselah is a Bristlecone Pine located in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California. Methuselah isn’t the only “oldie” in this forest. The other Bristlecone Pines in this forest are all over 4,000 years old too!
  • A tree called Prometheus (also known as WPN-114) was thought to be around 4,900 years old (some reports claim 5,000 years old - until it was cut down for research purposes in 1964. Prometheus, also a Bristlecone Pine, grew at Wheeler in eastern Nevada, USA.
  • A creosote bush called “King Clone” in the Mojave Desert is said to be 11,700 years old.
  • In 2005, it was thought that another creosote bush in Palm Springs could be older than King Clone - as much as 20,000 years old. I’m not sure if this report was confirmed or not.
  • In 1995, an extraordinary Huon pine tree was found in Tasmania, Australia. What was thought to be many trees covering 2.5 acres, appeared to be just one tree - a very old tree. Some media reports claimed it could be 30,000 to 40,000 years old. Scientists weren’t confirming this, but said that it was plausible that the trees could actually be one very old, underground tree.
  • And… not exactly a living tree, but last year, scientists claimed to have found what could be the world’s oldest tree - in the form of a fossil. The tree, called Wattieza would have lived around 385 - 397 million years ago.

Tallest Tree Ever Recorded

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I’ve already posted about the tallest tree in the world. And I’ve posted about the top 15 tallest California redwood trees, which are the tallest known living trees today.

In this post, I’ll talk about the tallest tree ever recorded. Or maybe that should be, the tallest trees ever recorded.

Australia’s Eucalyptus regnans trees (also referred to as Eucalyptus trees) have been widely regarded as the tallest trees ever recorded.

Here’s a list of some of the tallest Eucalyptus trees ever recorded:

  • Many sources have stated that the tallest tree ever recorded is the “Ferguson Tree” (measured by William Ferguson). On February 21, 1872, the fallen tree was measured at 132.6 meters (435 feet) - and that was after the top had broken off! The trunk, where it had broken off, was still a meter in diameter, and some estimated that the tree could have been taller than 152.4 meters (500 feet) tall.
  • Another tall tree was the “Robinson Tree” (measured by G.W. Robinson) at Mount Baw Baw. In 1889, the Robinson Tree was found to be 143 meters (470 feet) tall.
  • In 1867 another Eucalyptus tree was measured at 132.9 meters (436 feet)
  • A Eucalytus tree known as T. Rolla Tree was measured at 124.9 meters (410 feet)
  • The “David Boyle Tree” (measured by David Boyle) was located in the Dandenong Ranges (near Melbourne). In 1862 it was measured at 119 meters (390 feet), but it had fallen and had a broken top. David estimated that the tree would have been 128 meters (420 feet) if it’d kept it’s top.
  • In 1888, the Menzies Creek tree was measured at 122 meters (400 feet) after it had fallen.
  • In 1866, the C Walter tree was said to be 118.8 meters (390 feet)
  • In 1880, the Cornthwaite tree was measured at 114 meters (374 feet) after it had been cut down. It was located in South Gippsland in the Thorpdale area.

Isn’t it a shame that the tallest trees always seem to get cut down?

Top 15 Tallest Redwood Trees

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I remember, as a kid, being fascinated in world records. For some reason, I loved reading about anything that was the biggest, fastest, longest, oldest, tallest… anything that made it stand out from the rest of the pack.

Now many years later, I still remember reading that the tallest tree was a California redwood. And if memory serves me correctly, the 2nd tallest was also a California redwood. I’ve now learned that these are also known by other names - such as Coast redwood, redwood, coastal sequoia, palo colorado, giant redwood, and of course, it’s technical name of Sequoia sempervirens.

So, given that there are so many tall California redwoods, I decided to search for the top 10 redwood trees. What I ended up with was a list of the top 15 tallest redwoods.

Name given to Tree Where it is Located Height
Hyperion Redwood National Park, California 115.55 meters
Helios Redwood National Park, California 114.34 meters
Icarus Redwood National Park, California 113.11 meters
Stratosphere Giant Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California 112.87 meters
National Geographic Society Tree Redwood National Park, California 112.74 meters
Paradox Tree Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California 112.59 meters
Federation Giant Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California 112.45 meters
Mendocino Tree Montgomery Woods State Preserve, California 112.01 meters
Harry Cole Tree Redwood National Park, California 111.65 meters
Swamp Tree Montgomery Woods, California 110.77 meters
Pipe Dream Tree Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California 110.64 meters
Redwood Creek Giant Redwood National Park, California 110.4 meters
Lost Hope Tree Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California 110.4 meters
Rockefeller Tree Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California 110.34 meters
Daedalus Redwood National Park, California 110.34 meters

These were all measured by tape drop and/or Criterion 400 laser surveyor. The tape drop is the most accurate method of measuring a tree. You can see the tape drop in action on the tallest tree in the world.