ns am a study scientist in ~ The university of Nottingham. My key area of research is cardiovascular biology and I help teach college students to come to be veterinary surgeons and scientists. Once I am not working, I bring out a lot of community and also charity work and love safety time through my family, including my two grandchildren. I have three children. The youngest has actually just perfect school and also the larger two have actually completed their degrees at university.

ns am a Manchester-based scientific research communicator and artist at this time researching exactly how art and games have the right to be offered as devices for science outreach, as component of a M.Sc. At the university of Hull. I have operated in teamwork with researchers everywhere the world, producing interdisciplinary tasks that are offered to communicate science come the public and to inspire human being to get associated in STEM.

i am a teacher and also have teach young human being for end 20 years. Ns am additionally a professional proofreader and also copy-editor and more recently I have written my an initial children’s novel. I have two children, Joshua and also Erin, who love learning around animals and also science. In mine spare time, I reap playing tennis to store my love fit and also healthy and also my passion for the theater and acting keeps my love racing, specifically on opening night.


ns am an associate Professor the Anatomy and also Developmental genes at The university of Nottingham and a 2019 British science Association Media Fellow. I lead a group of research study scientists investigating why people and animals suffer from heart and also blood vessel disorders, trying to find techniques come detect, prevent, and cure. As soon as I am no working, i love come travel approximately the world, visit museums, and also write scientific research fiction. My boyfriend Andrew and also I go to run to save our hearts healthy. *catrin.rutland

Young Reviewers

Age: 11

cheerful boy that loves to play basketball and be through his family.

Age: 15

Hi, my name is Bruna and also I live in São Paulo.


We all take our hearts because that granted: the fascinating organ inside everyone the beats repeatedly to save blood pumping v our bodies. Blood flow ensures that oxygen, nutrients from food, hormones, and also waste assets get to the exactly cells. The love is crucial for maintaining humans and also most animals alive. Hearts space even much more interesting when we research what they do, just how they look, exactly how they work, and also the similarities and also differences in the mind of species across the planet. Is a giraffe heart comparable to a human being heart? Which pet survives in spite of having no heart? can a heart really beat end 1,500 times a minute? from dinosaurs come insects, people to dogs, this record looks in ~ what is yes, really happening ~ above the inside, experimenting the civilization of heart anatomy.

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How many Hearts do We Have?

You surely recognize that humans and also giraffes have just one heart, together most animals do—but no all. Octopuses and also squids (animals referred to as cephalopods) have three hearts. 2 hearts pump blood to the gills to take it up oxygen, and the various other pumps blood about the body (Figure 1). Worms are likewise unusual, with 5 structures dubbed aortic arcs acting as straightforward hearts. The hagfish, sometimes dubbed the slime eel, has one true love plus 3 accessory pumps helping the blood to move. Simply when you believed you had heard the all, some pets are heartless. Jellyfish, starfish, and also even corals manage really well there is no hearts. Starfish execute not even have blood, for this reason this describes why no heart is required. Instead, castle use small hair-like structures dubbed cilia to press seawater with their bodies and they extract oxygen indigenous the water.

Figure 1 - The straightforward structures of pet hearts.Bird and also mammal understanding have four chambers (two atria and also two ventricles). A frog, i beg your pardon is one amphibian, has actually a heart with 3 chambers (one ventricle and two atria), and also fish hearts have two chambers (one atrium and one ventricle). An octopus heart system contains three hearts—one key heart (H1) pumping blood to the body and two various other hearts (H2 and H3) pump blood to the gills. A, atrium; V, ventricle.

For Dr. Who fans, the fictional Time Lords have actually two hearts, however real humans an extremely rarely do. In incredibly unusual cases, world with the an illness cardiomyopathy have actually a 2nd heart attached top top their very own heart through doctors. The healthy and damaged hearts occupational together come share the load. Also, pair that room born associated to each various other (conjoined twins) can have two hearts naturally.

Mammal and also Bird Hearts

It is not just the variety of hearts the can readjust between species. The simple structure of this an essential organ deserve to be extremely different from one types to the next. Hearts mainly consist of muscle that contracts and also relaxes, causing blood to relocate through blood ship to and also from the lungs and also around the body (Figure 2)1. Together mammals, we have 4 main components to the heart, a left and also a right atrium and also a left and also a right ventricle. This is dubbed a four-chambered heart. Other mammals and birds all have four-chambered hearts. Other pet groups, such together reptiles, amphibians, fish, and also insects, have hearts the look a little different (Figure 1).

Figure 2 - understanding have adjusted differently to best suit every animal.(A) The giraffe has a very huge left ventricle so that the heart muscle deserve to pump blood to the body and all the way up the long neck come the head. The giraffe’s best ventricle is smaller, as it only pumps blood to the lungs. Microscope images of the love muscle the a chick (B) and also a dog (C) are likewise shown. The chick is young and therefore only has actually one ventricle and one atrium. Later, the chick love will become four-chambered, through two atria and also two ventricles.

Reptile and also Dinosaur Hearts

Reptile hearts have actually three chambers, 2 atria and also one ventricle (Figure 1). The exception is crocodilians, which have four-chambered hearts, just like mammals and also birds. However, there is a hole in the crocodile chamber wall, so whether there are three or 4 heart chambers is up because that debate. People often wonder whether dinosaurs progressed from bird or reptiles. Recognize a dinosaur heart is very rare because, uneven bone, the love is a soft tissue, so it is not frequently preserved. One potentially fossilized heart showed up to present that dinosaurs had 4 heart chambers, an ext like birds 보다 reptiles. Sadly, as this specimen was investigated further using much more advanced clinical technology, it was discovered not to it is in dinosaur tissue, so us still execute not know enough about dinosaur hearts to predict which animals dinosaurs developed from <2>.

Amphibian Hearts

Amphibians space an exciting group, as their hearts vary greatly. Living on land and in water, many get oxygen using their lungs, but likewise take it increase via their skin. Many amphibians, including frogs and toads, have actually three-chambered hearts, through two atria and one ventricle (Figure 1). However, lungless salamanders execute not have actually a structure dubbed a septum to divide the atrium right into two different parts, for this reason this animal has just one atrium and one ventricle. Some lesser known amphibians it seems to be ~ to have actually a septum in between their ventricles, therefore perhaps ancient amphibians had actually four-chambered hearts, choose mammals and birds.

Fish and Insect Hearts

Fish hearts have actually just 2 chambers, an atrium and a ventricle (Figure 1). Insects often have just a tube the pumps hemolymph (the name for the insect identical of blood) freely approximately the whole body, with a ship to help it move. Cockroaches, however, have 13 love chambers!

How huge is her Heart?

It goes without saying that heart size varies in various animals. After all, a whale could not make it through with a mouse-sized heart. One adult person heart weighs around 0.6 lbs. If you do a fist, the is roughly the dimension of her heart. The giraffe heart is a hefty 26 lbs, however the blue whale yes, really tips the scale at 400 lbs. The world’s the smallest heart belongs come the fairyfly. This tiny animal is simply 0.2 mm long, and also a microscopic lense is required to check out its heart.

Hearts room normally about 0.6% of one animal’s body mass. Dogs and wolves have relatively big hearts in comparison through their weight, at 0.8%. Meanwhile, the cat love is just 0.35% the a cat’s human body weight. Hopefully, relative heart size and also the quantity of love pets feel room not related. If they were, the world’s smallest mammal, the Etruscan shrew, would have actually a many love to give! The mouse-like shrew weighs a small 2 g and is around 4 cm long, but its heart renders up 1.2% of its body weight <3>. Scientists additionally found that the shrew heart can shrink in cold weather. This shrinkage help shrews make it through harsh climates, by reducing the lot of food that needs. This small mammal eats twice its body weight in food every day, so hibernation is not an option. Castle rarely also sleep.

Swift and also Sluggish love Rates

The way animals’ hearts occupational varies in between species, too. The heart rate, measure up in beats every minute (bpm), different in different species. Generally, larger animals have slow heart rates. A big slug has actually a heart rate of about 55 bpm, while smaller slug varieties are in the 90s. Many whales have heart prices of 10–30 bpm, giraffes are 40–90, and cats are approximately 150. In also smaller animals, the number increases: an adult chicken has actually a heart rate of 259 bpm, a chick is 400 (Video 1), and also the hamster love beats far at 450 bpm. The tiny Etruscan shrew clocks 835 bpm, an ext than 12 times higher than a person. The highest recorded shrew price was 1,511 bpm, a people record because that a warm-blooded pet <3>.

People have actually heart rates of approximately 60–100 bpm, yet children regularly have slightly higher rates. At 1 month old, 70–190 is relatively normal, 80–120 because that 3–4-years-olds, and 60–100 by the moment a boy is 10 year old. A growing baby inside its mother starts at 80 bpm in week 5, 155–195 in ~ 9 weeks old, and also around 130 just before it is born. Interestingly, the human heart starts as a tube in the 19–20-days-old embryo, rather like a fish, yet gradually rotates, develops, and also separates into four chambers over the following 6 weeks.

Exercise, Temperature and Hibernation All change Heart Rate

Heart rate alters in most working out animals. Running giraffes deserve to reach 170 bpm and also humans have the right to hit 220, however ideally it should be a tiny less. A crocodile heart rate at 10° C is 1–8 bpm, at 28° C it hits 24–40, and also once it reaches end 40° C, the heart can come to be damaged. Young swifts (birds) reduced their heart rates when in the nest, to stop starvation. Hibernating pets can likewise lower your heart rates. Grizzly bears typically clock 84 bpm, i m sorry lowers come 19 bpm during hibernation; a human heart would certainly usually avoid working if it went the low. Emotions, such as fear, love, and excitement, as well as hormone levels, sickness, oxygen levels, and also other determinants both inside and also outside of the body can readjust the heart rate.

Mending a broken Heart

In our previous Frontiers for Young Minds record “Mending a damaged Heart,” us looked at addressing failing understanding <4, 5>. The zebrafish has a very important ability: it can regenerate (regrow), therefore if the gets hurt or that heart has a problem, it can frequently repair itself. Person bodies are fantastic, and they continuously try to replace heart cells and repair heart tissue, but the zebrafish is a real expert at mending a broken heart.


In this article, us looked at some of the similarities and also differences between the mind of miscellaneous species. Mammals and birds have actually very similar hearts as result of evolution, while reptiles, fish, insects, and other pets evolved understanding that space slightly differently from those that mammals. The setting both inside and outside of each pet helps regulate the heart’s structure and function, yet lifestyle choices, such as exercise and also food, deserve to have huge impacts on your heart’s health. Her friends’ hearts are more similar come yours than to a giraffe’s for example, and also even much more similar 보다 to a frog or spider heart, however every person’s love is unique. Your heart is continuous adapting come the cases you space in, reacting to food, exercise, emotions, and illness. Uneven a squid, friend only have actually one heart, and it will beat about 2.21 billion times in her life, so it is worth keeping it healthy.


Cephalopods: pets without backbones, consisting of squids, octopi, and nautiluses. Cephalopods have actually symmetrical bodies, influential heads, and also tentacles.

Atrium: The upper chamber or chambers that the heart. The many is atria: for example, you have the right to have one atrium or 2 atria.

Ventricle: The lower chamber or chambers the the heart.

Amphibian: animals with backbones that require water or wet atmospheres to survive. Amphibians include toads, frogs, salamanders, and also caecilians (amphibians without foot or limbs).

Hemolymph: Fluid, comparable to blood, that some basic animals have to move nutrients and also oxygen approximately their bodies.

Heart Rate: The variety of times per minute that a love beats.

Video 1: at an early stage on, when a chick is farming in one egg, its heart have the right to be viewed on the outside of its body. Over time, the heart will move inside the body. This video shows a chick’s love beating when it is just a few days old. The heart is quiet a pipe containing 2 chambers, a ventricle and an atrium, but as it grows it will ultimately have 4 chambers. You have the right to see the blood pumping with the love chambers.

Conflict that Interest

The writer declare that the study was conducted in the absence of any kind of commercial or financial relationship that might be construed as a potential dispute of interest.


The writer would like to say thanks to our young reviewers, Erin and Joshua Rutland. Part of this occupational was made possible due to resources from the Anatomical culture with a public Engagement and Outreach approve to Catrin title Anatomy because that ALL—Making Anatomy Accessible. Us would likewise like to give thanks to the British scientific research Association and University the Nottingham for awarding Catrin through a BSA Media Fellowship 2019.


1. check out the document “Blood vessels Under the Microscope” because that information around blood <1>.

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<1> Machado, M., Mitchell, C., Franklin, J., Thorpe, A., and Rutland, C. S. 2020. Blood ship under the microscope. Front. Young minds 8:151. Doi: 10.3389/frym.2019.00151

<2> Cleland, T., Stoskopf, M., and Schweitzer, M. 2011. Histological, chemical, and morphological reexamination that the “heart” of a little Late Cretaceous Thescelosaurus. Naturwissenschaften. 98, 203–211. Doi: 10.1007/s00114-010-0760-1

<3> Jurgens, K. D., Fons, R., Peters, T., and Sender, S. 1996. Heart and also respiratory rates and their significance for convective oxygen transport prices in the the smallest mammal, the Etruscan shrew Suncus etruscus. J. Exp. Biol. 199:2579–84.

<4> Clark, N., Alibhai, A., and Rutland, C. S. 2018. Repair a broken heart—the genes of heart disease. Front. Young minds 6:19. Doi: 10.3389/frym.2018.00019

<5> Simpson, S., Rutland, P., and also Rutland, C. S. 2017. Genomic insights into cardiomyopathies: a to compare cross-species review. Vet. Sci. 4:19. Doi: 10.3390/vetsci4010019