, 46 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
And now I present: a thread based on my love of #science, #scicomm, and #animals, and the fact that I'm a huge #nerd:
The other day at the library, I got this book by Ann Tompert for my 2yo (2/?): amazon.com/Just-Little-Bi…
The premise: an elephant and a mouse want to ride a see-saw. #Physics has other ideas, so some other animals come to help. (3/?)
Eventually, mouse is joined by a giraffe, zebra, lion, bear, crocodile, mongoose, monkey, ostrich, and beetle, and the scales tip. (4/?)
So obviously I had to ask: How accurate is this?
Here's what I found. (5/?)
(Full disclosure: I've taken mass estimates from @Wikipedia, not primary sources) 6/?
#Elephant is referred to as "he" in the story. In all species of elephants, males are bigger than females. #sexualdimorphism (7/?)
Male African #elephants weigh up to 15,400 lb, while their Asian counterparts weigh up to 11,000 lb. (8/?)
Based on giraffe, zebra, & lion being at the playground, I'll presume the story happens in Africa. I'll say elephant weighs 12000 lb. (9/?)
Mouse's genus is unknown, so I have randomly selected one from Wikipedia's category 'Rodents of Africa.' (10/?)
Mouse in the book is also male. The typical striped grass mouse (Lemniscomys stratus) weighs up to 68g, or .15 lb. (11/?)
So Elephant weighs roughly 80,000 times as much as Mouse. Like I said, physics is against them. (12/?)
The first animal to come to Mouse's aid is Giraffe, who is female. The average adult female #giraffe weighs 1,825 lb. (13/?)
Next up: #Zebra. Zebra's species and sex are unspecified in the book (and its jaunty orange scarf gives away nothing). (14/?)
Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi) is the largest species, weighing up to 990 lb. But the Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) is much more common. (15/?)
The Plains Zebra weighs roughly 400-850 lb (M are about 10% bigger than F). The weight of the jaunty orange scarf is negligible. (16/?)
So if we assume a large male zebra, we now have 2675.15 lb on one side (zebra+giraffe+mouse) &12,000 lb on the other (elephant). 17/?
The next animal to climb on is a #Lion, identified as male. According to Wikipedia, a large male weighs approx. 550 lb. (18/?)
And now a bit of a mystery. The next animal to climb on the seesaw is "Bear." However, there are no extant #bears in Africa. (19/?)
As best I can figure, Bear must be an exchange student. He is identified as male, and is a brown color. (20/?)
Personally, I don't think Bear is a grizzly, a species in which males average 600-900 lb but can weigh up to 1500 lb. (21/?)
He is clearly smaller than Lion and Zebra, so I think he's more likely a North American black bear (not always black!). (22/?)
Grr....#parenting duty calls! Thread will be resumed ASAP. (23/?)
Ok, so the weight of male black bears ranges from approx. 125-550 lb. I'll put this one in the middle of that range, at 325 lb. (24/?)
Mouse & co. now weigh 3550.15 lb vs. Elephant's 12,000 lb. (25/?)
#Crocodile is the next to climb on. Neither sex nor species is specified, but I will assume it is a Nile croc based on its friends. (26/?)
Nile crocs have a huge range of sizes. An average female Nile croc weighs 90-550 lb, while males are typically 330-1540 lb. (27/?)
Some Nile crocs can be significantly larger - up to 2400 lb - but this one appears relatively small. I estimate its weight at 500 lb. (28/?)
Mongoose, by contrast, appears rel. big. Its sex and species are unclear, but the largest mongoose species weighs only 11 lb. (29/?)
So the far side of the see-saw is now at 4061.15 lb. This is not looking promising. (30/?)
Ostrich is the larger of the remaining climbers-on. I don't know if this one is M or F, but size differences are small. (31/?)
An average male common #ostrich weighs about 250 lb, compared to 220 lb for an average female. For our purposes, 250 will do. (32/?)
Ostrich is accompanied by Monkey, identified as female. To me, Monkey looks like a chimp, but she has a tail, so clearly is not. (33/?)
This monkey appears to be at arboreal and does not look like a colobus, so is likely in the Family Cercopithecidae. (34/?)
Correction: SUBfamily CercopitheciNae. (Isn't #taxonomy fun?) 35/?
Most #monkeys in this group have weights ranging from 10-45 lb. Again, to be generous, I will presume this one is at the upper end. (36/?)
And finally we have the "small brown #beetle" that literally tips the scales for our motley crew. (37/?)
Given that there are roughly 400,000 species in the Order Coleoptera, I will not try to guess the specific type. Darwin I am not. (38/?)
However, I feel confident that it is less than .22 lb, the weight of the Goliath beetle. (39/?)
.1 lb seems like a reasonably generous estimate, especially for a "small" beetle. (40/?)
So we now have a grand total of....
Elephant: 12,000 lb.
Mouse & co: 4,356.25 lb.
All of those animals together don't weigh even half as much as an #elephant.
Conclusion: elephants are *really* big! (42/?)
And have we learned anything else from this little exercise? (43/?)
Obviously, children's books about #animals don't (and shouldn't) always have #scicomm as a primary goal. (44/?)
But they can spark curiosity about the natural world and lead to some nifty learning opportunities! (45/?)
Especially those of us who love #science, #scicomm, and #animals, and are huge #nerds. 😜 (46/46)
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Lara Durgavich
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!