i am a research scientist at The college of Nottingham. My main area of study is cardiovascular biology and I help teach university students to come to be veterinary surgeons and scientists. As soon as I am not working, I carry out a most community and charity work and love security time v my family, including my 2 grandchildren. I have three children. The youngest has just finished school and the older two have actually completed their levels at university.

i am a Manchester-based scientific research communicator and also artist right now researching just how art and games can be supplied as tools for scientific research outreach, as component of a M.Sc. In ~ the university of Hull. I have operated in collaboration with researchers anywhere the world, developing interdisciplinary tasks that are offered to communicate science to the public and to inspire world to get involved in STEM.

ns am a teacher and also have teach young world for end 20 years. I am also a expert proofreader and copy-editor and much more recently I have actually written my an initial children’s novel. I have actually two children, Joshua and also Erin, who love learning around animals and science. In mine spare time, I reap playing tennis to save my love fit and healthy and my enthusiasm for the theater and also acting keeps my heart racing, specifically on opened night.


ns am an combine Professor that Anatomy and Developmental genetics at The university of Nottingham and also a 2019 British science Association Media Fellow. I lead a team of study scientists investigating why people and animals endure from heart and also blood ship disorders, looking for techniques to detect, prevent, and cure. When I am no working, i love come travel approximately the world, visit museums, and also write science fiction. My friend Andrew and I go running to save our hearts healthy. *catrin.rutland

Young Reviewers

Age: 11

you re welcome boy that loves to play basketball and be through his family.

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


We all take our hearts for granted: the fascinating organ inside everyone the beats repeatedly to save blood pumping with our bodies. Blood flow ensures the oxygen, nutrient from food, hormones, and waste commodities get to the exactly cells. The love is crucial for maintaining humans and most animals alive. Hearts space even an ext interesting as soon as we study what castle do, exactly how they look, exactly how they work, and the similarities and also differences in the understanding of types across the planet. Is a giraffe heart similar to a human being heart? Which pet survives despite having no heart? can a heart yes, really beat end 1,500 times a minute? indigenous dinosaurs come insects, humans to dogs, this document looks in ~ what is yes, really happening top top the inside, trying out the civilization of heart anatomy.

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How many Hearts carry out We Have?

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

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

For Dr. Who fans, the fictitious Time Lords have two hearts, yet real humans an extremely rarely do. In incredibly unusual cases, human being with the an illness cardiomyopathy have a second heart attached top top their own heart through doctors. The healthy and damaged hearts job-related together come share the load. Also, pair that are born associated to each other (conjoined twins) have the right to have 2 hearts naturally.

Mammal and Bird Hearts

It is not simply the variety of hearts that can change between species. The an easy structure that this vital organ can be extremely different from one varieties to the next. Hearts mainly consist the muscle that contracts and also relaxes, resulting in blood to relocate through blood ship to and also from the lungs and also around the body (Figure 2)1. Together mammals, we have four main parts to the heart, a left and a ideal atrium and also a left and a ideal ventricle. This is dubbed a four-chambered heart. Various other mammals and birds all have actually four-chambered hearts. Other animal groups, such as reptiles, amphibians, fish, and also insects, have actually hearts that look a little different (Figure 1).

Figure 2 - hearts have adapted differently to ideal suit every animal.(A) The giraffe has actually a very large left ventricle so the the love muscle deserve to pump blood come the body and all the means up the long neck to the head. The giraffe’s appropriate ventricle is smaller, together it just pumps blood come the lungs. Microscope images of the love muscle the a chick (B) and also a dog (C) are additionally shown. The chick is young and therefore only has one ventricle and also one atrium. Later, the chick heart will come to be four-chambered, through two atria and two ventricles.

Reptile and also Dinosaur Hearts

Reptile hearts have three chambers, 2 atria and one ventricle (Figure 1). The exemption is crocodilians, which have actually four-chambered hearts, just like mammals and also birds. However, over there is a hole in the crocodile chamber wall, so whether there room three or 4 heart chambers is up because that debate. People often wonder whether dinosaurs developed from birds or reptiles. Finding a dinosaur heart is very rare because, uneven bone, the heart is a soft tissue, so it is not regularly preserved. One possibly fossilized heart showed up to show that dinosaurs had four heart chambers, more like birds 보다 reptiles. Sadly, together this specimen was investigated more using more advanced scientific technology, it was uncovered not to be dinosaur tissue, so us still execute not recognize enough about dinosaur hearts to predict which pets dinosaurs progressed from <2>.

Amphibian Hearts

Amphibians are an amazing group, together their hearts differ greatly. Living on land and also in water, plenty of get oxygen making use of their lungs, but also take it increase via your skin. Most amphibians, including frogs and toads, have three-chambered hearts, with two atria and also one ventricle (Figure 1). However, lungless salamanders do not have a structure called a septum to divide the atrium into two different parts, so this pet has simply one atrium and also one ventricle. Part lesser recognized amphibians it seems ~ to have actually a septum in in between their ventricles, therefore perhaps ancient amphibians had actually four-chambered hearts, prefer mammals and birds.

Fish and Insect Hearts

Fish hearts have actually just 2 chambers, one atrium and a ventricle (Figure 1). Insects frequently have just a tube the pumps hemolymph (the surname for the insect tantamount of blood) freely about the entire body, through a ship to aid it move. Cockroaches, however, have 13 heart chambers!

How huge is your Heart?

It goes there is no saying that heart dimension varies in different animals. ~ all, a whale can not make it through with a mouse-sized heart. One adult human heart weighs around 0.6 lbs. If you make a fist, that is roughly the dimension of her heart. The giraffe love is a hefty 26 lbs, however the blue whale really tips the scales at 400 lbs. The world’s the smallest heart belongs come the fairyfly. This tiny pet is simply 0.2 mm long, and also a microscope is essential to watch its heart.

Hearts room normally around 0.6% of an animal’s body mass. Dogs and wolves have relatively huge hearts in comparison through their weight, at 0.8%. Meanwhile, the cat heart is simply 0.35% the a cat’s body weight. Hopefully, family member heart size and the quantity of love pets feel room not related. If castle were, the world’s smallest mammal, the Etruscan shrew, would have a most love come give! The mouse-like shrew weighs a tiny 2 g and is roughly 4 centimeter long, yet its heart provides up 1.2% that its body load <3>. Scientists likewise found the the shrew heart have the right to shrink in cold weather. This shrinkage help shrews survive harsh climates, by reduce the lot of food that needs. This little mammal eats double its body load in food every day, so hibernation is no an option. Lock rarely even sleep.

Swift and Sluggish love Rates

The way animals’ hearts job-related varies between species, too. The heart rate, measure up in beats every minute (bpm), different in different species. Generally, larger animals have slower heart rates. A huge slug has actually a heart rate of around 55 bpm, while smaller sized slug species are in the 90s. Many whales have heart rates of 10–30 bpm, giraffes room 40–90, and cats are roughly 150. In even smaller animals, the number increases: one adult chicken has a heart rate of 259 bpm, a chick is 400 (Video 1), and also the hamster heart beats away at 450 bpm. The small Etruscan shrew clocks 835 bpm, more than 12 times greater than a person. The greatest recorded shrew rate was 1,511 bpm, a civilization record for a warm-blooded pet <3>.

People have heart rates of roughly 60–100 bpm, however children regularly have slightly higher rates. At 1 month old, 70–190 is reasonably normal, 80–120 because that 3–4-years-olds, and also 60–100 by the time a son is 10 year old. A growing baby inside its mother starts at 80 bpm in mainly 5, 155–195 in ~ 9 weeks old, and around 130 just prior to it is born. Interestingly, the human heart starts together a pipe in the 19–20-days-old embryo, rather choose a fish, however gradually rotates, develops, and also separates into four chambers over the next 6 weeks.

Exercise, Temperature and also Hibernation All adjust Heart Rate

Heart rate alters in most working out animals. To run giraffes can reach 170 bpm and humans can hit 220, but ideally it should be a small less. A crocodile heart price at 10° C is 1–8 bpm, in ~ 28° C it hits 24–40, and once it reaches end 40° C, the heart can become damaged. Young swifts (birds) lower their heart rates when in the nest, to protect against starvation. Hibernating animals can likewise lower their heart rates. Grizzly bears normally clock 84 bpm, i beg your pardon lowers to 19 bpm during hibernation; a human heart would certainly usually avoid working if the went that low. Emotions, such together fear, love, and also excitement, as well as hormone levels, sickness, oxygen levels, and other components both inside and also outside the the body can readjust the heart rate.

Mending a damaged Heart

In our previous Frontiers because that Young Minds document “Mending a broken Heart,” we looked at solving failing understanding <4, 5>. The zebrafish has a an extremely important ability: it have the right to regenerate (regrow), so if it gets hurt or that is heart has actually a problem, it can regularly repair itself. Human bodies space fantastic, and also they continuously shot to change heart cells and repair love tissue, however the zebrafish is a real experienced at mending a damaged heart.


In this article, we looked at some of the similarities and also differences between the hearts of miscellaneous species. Mammals and also birds have very comparable hearts as result of evolution, when reptiles, fish, insects, and also other animals evolved hearts that are slightly in different ways from those of mammals. The environment both inside and also outside that each pet helps control the heart’s structure and also function, but lifestyle choices, such as exercise and also food, have the right to have huge impacts on your heart’s health. Her friends’ hearts are an ext similar come yours than to a giraffe’s for example, and also even much more similar than to a frog or spider heart, yet every person’s love is unique. Her heart is continually adapting come the cases you room in, reaction to food, exercise, emotions, and illness. Uneven a squid, you only have actually one heart, and also it will beat roughly 2.21 billion time in her life, so it is worth maintaining it healthy.


Cephalopods: animals without backbones, including squids, octopi, and nautiluses. Cephalopods have actually symmetrical bodies, influential heads, and also tentacles.

Atrium: The upper chamber or chambers the the heart. The plural is atria: for example, you can have one atrium or two atria.

Ventricle: The lower chamber or chambers that the heart.

Amphibian: pets with backbones that need water or wet environments to survive. Amphibians incorporate 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 oxygen roughly their bodies.

Heart Rate: The variety of times every minute the a heart beats.

Video 1: early on on, once a chick is growing in an egg, the heart deserve to be checked out on the exterior of the body. End time, the love will move inside the body. This video clip shows a chick’s love beating as soon as it is simply a couple of days old. The heart is quiet a pipe containing two chambers, a ventricle and an atrium, yet as it grows it will ultimately have four chambers. You have the right to see the blood pumping with the love chambers.

Conflict the Interest

The authors declare the the research was performed in the absence of any type of commercial or financial relationships that might be understood as a potential dispute of interest.


The authors would prefer to give thanks to our young reviewers, Erin and also Joshua Rutland. Component of this work was made possible due to resources from the Anatomical culture with a publicly Engagement and also Outreach approve to Catrin titled Anatomy for ALL—Making Anatomy Accessible. We would also like to thank the British science Association and also University that Nottingham for awarding Catrin v a BSA Media Fellowship 2019.


1. watch the file “Blood ship 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 vessels under the microscope. Front. Young psychic 8:151. Doi: 10.3389/frym.2019.00151

<2> Cleland, T., Stoskopf, M., and also Schweitzer, M. 2011. Histological, chemical, and morphological reexamination of the “heart” the 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 also Sender, S. 1996. Heart and also respiratory rates and their definition for convective oxygen transport rates in the smallest mammal, the Etruscan shrew Suncus etruscus. J. Exp. Biol. 199:2579–84.

<4> Clark, N., Alibhai, A., and also Rutland, C. S. 2018. Mending a damaged heart—the genetics of love 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 right into cardiomyopathies: a to compare cross-species review. Vet. Sci. 4:19. Doi: 10.3390/vetsci4010019