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Which is the biggest organism on Earth? This seemingly straightforward question is quite complex! Among animals, blue whales are certainly the most massive animals to ever exist on Earth, weighing more than 150 tons. In addition to their weight, blue whales are quite long as well! The longest blue whale on record was 110 feet (around 33 meters) long. However, most blue whales are usually between 70 and 80 feet (21 meters to 24 meters). But which is the biggest organism? The answer to this question depends on what one exactly means by “biggest.”
It is known that the “tallest” organisms are California redwoods. They are often taller than 300 feet (90 meters), but one has reached 367.8 feet (112.1 meters) in height. The “widest” organism, covering the most land area at 2,385 acres, is a fungus found in a national forest in the state of Oregon. This fungus belongs to a group called honey mushrooms. These fungi are usually found at the base of trees, spreading through extensive branching networks called mycelia. The land area covered by this fungus is large enough to cover 1,665 football fields, or nearly four square miles (10 square kilometers). Based on the rate with which it is growing, the fungus has been estimated to be 2,400 years old. However, it could also be as old as 8,650 years, making it one of the oldest living organisms as well.
The “heaviest” organism is a quaking aspen, called Pando, which weighs more than 6,000 tons. Although the quaking aspen appears to be separate trees, it is actually a group of clones of an individual male quaking aspen which arose from a single cell. This was discovered by scientists by using specific markers showing a similar genetic origin. Also, Pando has a large underground root system. Together, this colony of 47,000 quaking aspen trees covers an area of 106 acres. Once again, the root system of Pando is considered to be one of the oldest known living organisms.
Thus, the question about the biggest organism is a complex one indeed! So, which organism is the winner here? Watch the video to find out!