How Long on Earth? Life Spans of Animals, Humans, Insects, Plants, and Microorganisms: A Quiz Deck

How Long on Earth? Life Spans of Animals, Humans, Insects, Plants, and Microorganisms: A Quiz Deck
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How Long on Earth? Life Spans of Animals, Humans, Insects, Plants, and Microorganisms: A Quiz Deck
$9.95ITEM #SC0130
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One deck of 48 3 1/4 x 4 inch cards.

ISBN 9780764954566

Product Description

A stroke of bad karma might make you a cockroach, but the news wouldn’t be all bad: you’d only have to scuttle for 16 months. Humans are among the longest-lived animals; cockroaches don’t live nearly so long as tarantulas or scorpions. If your karma went the other way, you might inhabit the body of a whale: the bowhead can live more than 200 years, a generous span if you enjoy plankton.

This deck of 48 quiz cards conveys far more than the life spans of the great and the small, shedding light on why some creatures live longer than others, how stem cells might be used to extend human life span, and whether butterflies live longer in cages or meadows.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this product supports Sierra Club’s efforts to preserve and protect the planet. By Don Root.


Sample Card Text

Many marine mammals have enviably long life spans. What is the estimated maximum life span of the bowhead whale?
(a) 60 years
(b) 80 years
(c) 120 years
(d) more than 200 years


Answer (d) As far as we know today, the bowhead whale is the longest-living mammal. In 1981 indigenous Inupiat whale hunters on the north coast of Alaska discovered in a slaughtered bowhead an ivory harpoon tip estimated at between 130 and 200 years old. That led the scientific community to begin challenging the assumption that the bowhead’s life span was perhaps 100 years. In a 1999 study published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, researchers examined the eyeballs of 48 bowheads that had been killed by hunters between 1978 and 1996. Analyzing the chemistry of protein layers in the eye lenses, the scientists estimated that four of the whales had been more than 100 years old when killed, and the oldest was estimated to have been 211. And since these whales had been killed and hadn’t died of old age, it became clear that the bowhead’s maximum life span might even be significantly longer than 211.