Why Can't a Bug Be As Big As a House?


In 1961, a film titled Mothra told a story about a moth as big as three football fields terrorizing Tokyo. More recently, we have had films like Starship Troopers telling horror stories about spiders the size of buses and ticks that weigh 70 tons. The question is whether such monster-sized arthropods could really exist and if not, why not? The answer is that the design of their bodies makes gargantuan bugs pure fantasy.

Biologists have known for many years that there is a law called the 1/4-power law in the biological world. What this law says is that, if you double the size of an animal, you do not double its diet, strength, reproduction, etc. What happens is that the formulas for these quantities will contain exponents of 1 to 4. An example may help. A horse might be 16 times heavier than a dog. Would a dog's heart beat 16 times as fast as a horse? What the 1/4-power law says is that the rate will be an exponent of 4. Four squared is 16 so the exponent of 4 is 2. The dog's heart will beat twice as fast.

This works for just about every characteristic plants and animals have. The question is why? Studies released in a number of periodicals are showing that the design of internal structures in living things is the cause of the ratio. Animal metabolism is related to surface area by ratios of 3 to 4, obeying the rule. Blood vessels and energy released from molecules obey this rule. The use of fractal mathematics has shown that these ratios have engineering principles built into them which control biological activities. There cannot be bugs the size of a house because their whole biological system would collapse.

On this planet at least, God has used engineering principles that keep a balance in nature which not only allows man to exist, but also preserves the resources of the planet so life can continue for the long haul. -Reference: Science News, October 16, 1999, page 249

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