Modern Giants

Some modern examples of gigantic organisms include the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands, varanid lizards of Indonesia, and the African elephant and giraffe. The huge redwood or sequoia trees in California can grow to be 10 m acrosss, and up to 100 m tall! Ostriches, emus, and emperor penguins are unusually large birds. The Japanese spider crab grows to a maximum limb spread of over 3 m. Giant clams can grow up to a diameter of 2 m and weigh about 200 kg. Giant squids, from head to the the tips of their tentacles, are around 17 m long and weigh over 3000 kg. The blue whale, which is the largest living animal, is over 31 m long and tips the scales at over 130 tonnes (Cloudsley-Thompson,1977).

Most of the giant mammals are found in Africa, compared to South America and Australia where there are virtually no anomalously large creatures.