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A model of a skeleton of a Blue Whale, the largest animal on Earth.

The largest body part is either the largest given body part across all animals or the largest example of a body part within a species. The largest animals on the planet are not the only ones to have large body parts, with some smaller animals actually having one particularly enlarged area of the body. The largest organ of a mammal is its skin.[1]


Across all living animals

Giraffes are instantly recognisable for their long necks.

Blue whale

Unsurprisingly, as the largest animal alive, the Blue Whale has the largest instance of several body parts.

  • Its tongue weighs around 2.7 tonnes (3 short tons)[2]
  • Its mouth is large enough to hold up to 90 tonnes (100 short tons) of food and water.[3]
  • Its heart typically weighs 600 kg (1,320 lb) [2] and can reach 900 kg in exceptional cases[4]
  • Its aorta is about 23 cm (9 in) in diameter.[5]

Other animals

  • The Atlantic Giant Squid has the largest recorded eyes of any animal with an approximate diameter of 50 centimetres (20 inches),[6] although those of the Colossal Squid are thought to reach an even greater size.
  • The giraffe has the longest neck as well as the longest tail of any land mammal.[7]
  • The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan at 3.63 metres (11 feet 11 inches).[8]
  • The longest horns ever recorded belonged to a Wild Asian Water buffalo and measured 4.24 metres (13 feet 11 inches) from tip to tip.[9] The Greater Kudu has the longest horns on average.[citation needed]
  • The largest and heaviest brain belongs to the Sperm Whale, weighing around 9 kilograms.[10]
  • The Arctic Lion's mane jellyfish is the longest animal; the biggest had a bell (body), with a diameter of 7 feet 6 inches (2.28 meters) and the tentacles reached 120 feet (36.5 meters). It was found washed up on the shore of Massachusetts Bay in 1870.[11] Bootlace worms can reach great lengths. A specimen was measured at 55m (180 feet) but this may be unreliable as the body is somewhat elastic.

In proportion to body size

  • The Tube-lipped Nectar Bat has the longest tongue of any mammal in relation to its body size. Its 3.4 in (86 mm) tongue is 1.5 times longer than its body 2.3 in (58 mm), and must be kept inside its rib cage.[12]
  • The barnacle is the creature with the largest penis as a proportion of its overall body size.[13]
  • Among vertebrates, the Argentine Blue-bill duck has the longest penis in relative to its body size.[14]
  • The vampire squid has the largest eyes of any animal relative to its size.[15]
  • Humans have the largest brains in relation to body size.[16]



  • The longest human tongue ever recorded was that of Stephen Taylor and measures 9.8 centimetres (3.86 in).[23] The longest tongue for a female is that of Annika Irmler at 7 centimetres (2.76 in).[24]
  • The woman with the longest legs is Svetlana Pankratova. At a height of 6 ft 4 in (1.930 m), her legs measure 52 inches (1,321 mm).[25]
  • The woman with the longest fingernails is Lee Redmond. The total length of her fingernails is 7.513 meters.[26]
  • The longest head of hair belonged to Xie Qiuping of China and measured 5.627 metres (18 feet 5.54 inches) on 8 May 2004.[27]
  • The longest beard ever measured belonged to Hans Langseth of Norway; at his death in 1927 it was 5.65 metres (18 feet 6 inches) long.[28]
  • The longest ear hair belongs to Radhakant Bajpai of Naya Ganj, Uttar Pradesh, India, measuring 13.2 centimetres (5.19 inches).[29]

See also


  1. ^ University of Colorado at Boulder: CHAPTER 1: MAMMALIAN CHARACTERISTICS: INTEGUMENTARY SYSTEM: The skin is an individual mammal's largest organ.
  2. ^ a b The Scientific Monthly. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1915. p. 21. 
  3. ^ Jason de Koning and Geoff Wild (1997). "Contaminant analysis of organochlorines in blubber biopsies from Blue Whales in the St Lawrence". Trent University. Retrieved 29 June 2007. 
  4. ^ Seaworld. "Animal Bytes - Blue Whale". Accessed 9 August 2006.
  5. ^ Caspar, Dave (2001 April). "Ms. Blue's Measurements" (PDF). Seymour Center, University of California, Santa Cruz.. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  6. ^ Guinness World Records. "Largest Eye". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  7. ^ San Diego Zoo. "Mammals: Giraffe". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  8. ^ Guinness World Records. "Largest Wingspan Of Any Living Bird". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  9. ^ Guinness World Records. "Longest Horns". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  10. ^ "Physeter catodon, Sperm Whale". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  11. ^ Giant Jellyfish: Arctic Lion's Mane (Cyanea capillata)
  12. ^ The animal that stows its tongue in its rib cage URL accessed January 17, 2007.
  13. ^ Museum Victoria. "Biology of Barnacles". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  14. ^ Evolutionary Oddities: Duck Sex Organ, Lizard Tongue
  15. ^ Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, University of the Virgin Islands. "The Vampire Squid". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  16. ^ Sneakiest primates have biggest brains - 30 June 2004 - New Scientist
  17. ^ Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Knee Joint URL accessed 17 January 2007.
  18. ^ Intro to Blood Vessels URL accessed January 17, 2007
  19. ^ Re: What is the largest vein? URL accessed 17 January 2007.
  20. ^ Organs - Liver URL accessed 17 January 17, 2007.
  21. ^ Your Amazing Body URL accessed 17 January 2007.
  22. ^ Muscle fiber and motor unit behavior in the longest human skeletal muscle URL accessed 17 January 2007.
  23. ^ Guinness World Records. "Longest tongue". Accessed 27 August 2008.
  24. ^ Newsround. 9 November 2001 "'I've got the world's longest tongue'". Accessed 7 August 2006.
  25. ^ "Smallest Man Meets Woman with Longest Legs" AP. September 16, 2008.
  26. ^ Guinness World Records. "Longest Fingernails - Female". Accessed 27 August 2008.
  27. ^ Guinness World Records. "Longest hair". Accessed 27 August 2008.
  28. ^ Hair records - Longest male beard - Accessed 27 August 2008
  29. ^ Guinness World gfdcggsdfgRecords. "Longest Ear Hair". Accessed 27 August 2008.


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