Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

First Blue Whale Heart Preserved Is the Size of a Golf Cart

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

Contrary to legend, the aorta of a blue whale may not actually be big enough to fit a human inside. Experts at the Royal Ontario Museum have dissected a blue whale and preserved its heart for the first time, finally giving us an intact specimen to measure the myths of the whale’s immensity against. 

The largest animal in the world, the blue whale has a heart about the size of a small golf cart, according to Big Blue Live, a new television series that visited the dissection lab. The Canadian museum was able to secure the body of a 76.5-foot blue whale that became trapped in ice and died, washing up on the shores of Newfoundland. The museum’s technicians extracted the entire heart from the mammal intact; it took four people to push it out of the chest cavity. 

The heart, the first of its kind to be preserved, weighs 400 pounds and measures 5 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet. It’s not quite car-sized, as previously thought, but it’s at least bumper-car sized. The aorta isn’t quite large enough to crawl through, but you might be able to squeeze your head in. The heart could pump 58 gallons of blood per second, and required 1000 gallons of formaldehyde to preserve. Both the heart and the whale’s skeleton will eventually go on display at the museum. 

[h/t: BBC]

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Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
How a Hairdresser Found a Way to Fight Oil Spills With Hair Clippings
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

The Exxon Valdez oil tanker made global news in 1989 when it dumped millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters off Alaska's coast. As experts were figuring out the best ways to handle the ecological disaster, a hairdresser from Alabama named Phil McCroy was tinkering with ideas of his own. His solution, a stocking stuffed with hair clippings, was an early version of a clean-up method that's used at real oil spill sites today, according to Vox.

Hair booms are sock-like tubes stuffed with recycled hair, fur, and wool clippings. Hair naturally soaks up oil; most of the time it's sebum, an oil secreted from our sebaceous glands, but it will attract crude oil as well. When hair booms are dragged through waters slicked with oil, they sop up all of that pollution in a way that's gentle on the environment.

The same properties that make hair a great clean-up tool at spills are also what make animals vulnerable. Marine life that depends on clean fur to stay warm can die if their coats are stained with oil that's hard to wash off. Footage of an otter covered in oil was actually what inspired Phil McCroy to come up with his hair-based invention.

Check out the full story from Vox in the video below.

[h/t Vox]

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Bristly
A New Chew Toy Will Help Your Dog Brush Its Own Teeth
Bristly
Bristly

Few pet owners are willing to sit down and brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis. (Most of us can barely convince ourselves to floss our own teeth, after all.) Even fewer pets are willing to sit calmly and let it happen. But pet dental care matters: I’ve personally spent more than $1000 in the last few years dealing with the fact that my cat’s teeth are rotting out of her head.

For dog owners struggling to brush poor Fido’s teeth, there’s a slightly better option. Bristly, a product currently being funded on Kickstarter, is a chew toy that acts as a toothbrush. The rubber stick, which can be slathered with doggie toothpaste, is outfitted with bristles that brush your dog’s teeth as it plays.

A French bulldog chews on a Bristly toy.
Bristly

Designed so your dog can use it without you lifting a finger, it’s shaped like a little pogo stick, with a flattened base that allows dogs to stabilize it with their paws as they hack at the bristled stick with their teeth. The bristles are coated in a meat flavoring to encourage dogs to chew.

An estimated 80 percent of dogs over the age of 3 have some kind of dental disease, so the chances that your dog could use some extra dental attention is very high. In addition to staving off expensive vet bills, brushing your dog's teeth can improve their smelly breath.

Bristly comes in three sizes as well as in a heavy-duty version made for dogs who are prone to ripping through anything they can get their jaws around. A Bristly stick costs $29 and is scheduled to start shipping in October. Get it here.

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