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Still Waters

Could Insects Reach the Size of Humans?

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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....

http://www.livescien...not-bigger.html

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

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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
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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...

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

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:cry:

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Imagine a spider the size of a human...

[Cries]

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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

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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

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

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

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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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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.

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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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I just killed a cockroach. Squashed it with my foot.

Glad I didn't have to resort to hand to hand combat.

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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.

I saw an experiment like this performed somewhere, I forget where exactly. It may have actually been a link from the main site at some point. Anyways, they used a controlled aquatic environment with higher portions of oxygen and raised some piranha in there. The fish ended up growing three times as large as they normally would.

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1) ew. 2) ew. and 3) ew!

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In our modern atmosphere? No. Insects can't grow to human size; it's just biologically impossible. People don't seem to think about the fact that scaling a thing doesn't mean that it can keep its structure at larger scales. A human-sized insect (retaining its proportions) wouldn't be able to move, as its legs would be too weak, its head and thorax too heavy; it wouldn't be able to breathe, given it would need a far greater amount of oxygen than is ever thought to have existed on this planet.

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I just killed a cockroach. Squashed it with my foot.

Glad I didn't have to resort to hand to hand combat.

LMAO!

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We don't need bigger insects, we need bigger shrimp, crabs and lobsters! (Pass the cocktail sauce!)

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Just build a biosphere and wait. It's not like they're going to evolve based on the multiplied oxygen and then escape into the real world. :D

(the start of a horrormovie)

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Just build a biosphere and wait. It's not like they're going to evolve based on the multiplied oxygen and then escape into the real world. :D

(the start of a horrormovie)

Think they tried this and worked in getting them larger.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101029132924.htm

Imagine Wasps the size of people!!! The nest would be like a 10 storey bulding!!

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Instead of insects growing smaller due to lack of oxygen and growing larger with more oxygen due to limitations of their trachea, why don't they develop a more efficient breathing system that is able to better utilise the low oxygen without overall body size being shrunk?

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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....

http://www.livescien...not-bigger.html

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

The cool thing about Ant-Man is that his powers totally ignore physics. He can shrink or grow, from small enough to not be able to be seen (microscopic) to being as tall as a 20 story building. And he can do that same trick with just about anything.... plant, animal, mineral...

I thought that scientists did an experiment with oxygen levels with flys of some kind, where some of the eggs from one fly were put in control conditions and hatched and appeared normal, and another group that was put in high oxygen and was 25% or some such thing, large on average. It was a significant percentage larger.

I'm pretty sure that the giant scorpion was a "water scorpion" and not a land scorpion, and so was breathing water, which is a different set of variables that limitis the size.

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