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Could Insects Reach the Size of Humans?

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:07 PM

Director Edgar Wright, known for movies such as "Shaun of the Dead," announced earlier this week he would be making a movie about Ant-Man, a comic superhero who can shrink to the size of an ant and communicate with his formic brethren, according to the news site Grantland. If it's anything like the comic, it will also feature ants as big as humans, which got us thinking: Could ants be as big as people? And why aren't insects bigger than they are?

The short answer is, researchers don't know exactly, although there are several hypotheses as to why insects and other arthropods don't get bigger....


It's just as well they can't! :D

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#2    King Fluffs

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:15 PM

I wouldn't like human sized spiders...
Oh god... that gives me an idea.

EDIT - I know why they don't grow bigger.
In my biology classes (several years ago) I was taught that they have open (or it may have been closed) circulation systems and so alot of oxygen would have to be in the environment in order for them to grow to massive proportions.

Edited by King Fluffs, 21 October 2012 - 02:23 PM.

#3    Mantis914


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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:29 PM

The possibilities would be endless on that.  If we were on friendly terms with the insects, we could be hitching rides on the backs of bees or dragonflies and instead of buses, we could climb on top of a millipede.  The only one I wouldn't be too crazy seeing a big one of is a centipede...  and well, cockroach...

#4    Still Waters

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:48 PM

Imagine a spider the size of a human... :o

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#5    Old Man Waffles

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:50 PM


#6    little_dreamer


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Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:03 PM

It's already happened in prehistoric times - a 9 foot scorpion

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#7    Princess Serenity

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:39 PM

View PostStill Waters, on 21 October 2012 - 02:48 PM, said:

Imagine a spider the size of a human...


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#8    magnoliaReverie



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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:00 PM

I like insects...but one of the reasons I like them is because of their size. I wouldn't like them so much if they were human sized at all. :no:

edit: okay now that i'm thinking about it some of them might be pretty cool on a larger scale. No centipedes though!

Edited by sarah_444, 21 October 2012 - 09:02 PM.

#9    Finity


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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:22 PM

I don't think it's possible for insects to grow that big and maintain the same kind of structure due to the effects of gravity (otherwise they would just keep growing).  It's like having a giant human, you would just fall appart under your own size and weight.

Edited by Finity, 21 October 2012 - 09:25 PM.

#10    Travelling Man

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:52 PM

I read a paper on this very subject about a year ago.

When insects were OMG huge, the O2 content of the air was about 30-35% - MUCH higher than it is now (20.1%).

Insects are hemoceals (or however you spell that word...), essentially big bags or blood with very little of what WE call circulation, and they get their oxygen through their skin. For insects to grow, they have to have LOTS of O2, and their present joints (knees) restrict what little circulation they do have - so they couldn't get huge the way things sit now.

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#11    pallidin


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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:57 PM

Well, my wife has called me a "pest" at times. :passifier:

#12    Ashotep


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Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:01 AM

I'm glad they don't get very big.  I couldn't step on them they would step on me.

#13    Ninhursag


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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:50 AM

Oh my .. I don't even wanna imagine what would it be like if they could grow up to human size :cry:

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#14    draconis


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Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:57 PM

Now, ive been thinking about this one for years, what the scientists should do is, in a "very" controlled environment, build somewhat of a bioshere/habitation module with X% of oxygen and sufficient nutrients, and put various insects/arachnids in said "controlled" environment, from say, a larval stage and watch and see how big they really could get. I know this sounds like the premise of some sort of scifi/horror.. But i reckon we'd see some promising results.

#15    Child of Bast

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:05 PM

View PostStill Waters, on 21 October 2012 - 02:48 PM, said:

Imagine a spider the size of a human... :o

No thanks! My imagination has better things to do with its time! :P

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Also tagged with insects, humans, size

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