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Brian1946's avatar

What's the largest living thing that you've ever seen in person?

Asked by Brian1946 (27642points) August 21st, 2012

I asked the daughter of a friend this question, and her answer intrigued me.

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28 Answers

downtide's avatar

Probably some kind of tree. I’ve never seen a redwood in person but I’ve seen some pretty big Scots Pines and cedars.

wilma's avatar

As far as animals go I would say a humpback whale or Elephant. I’m not sure of their size difference.
As far as plants, maybe the big Banyan tree in Lahaina Hawaii. I guess I don’t really know.

Ponderer983's avatar

Oh boy, I can only imagine some of the responses that will be doled out for this question (my sexually charged mind wonders)
Probably some form of a whale when I was at an aquarium. In the wild, a manatee.

Coloma's avatar

Aside from the redwoods and elephants, I’d have to say the monster bull Elk I stumbled upon hiking a few years ago, my gawd, that thing was ginormous!
I swear it was 8 feet tall with 6 foot antlers, scared the crap out of me. lol

Berserker's avatar

I saw a bison at the zoo before. I mean I knew they were big, but just knowing really isn’t anything compared to seeing one ten feet away from you. Thing was massive.

bkcunningham's avatar

The Belize Barrier Reef.

Ponderer983's avatar

@bkcunningham Ooooo I saw that too!! Add to my list :)

Coloma's avatar

Oh, well…if we are talking anything, then I’d say the Pacific ocean. 13 hours over that puppy flying to asia a few years ago. Holy shit, miles of nothing but open sea.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The largest individual organism I’ve ever seen is a blue whale (since I haven’t yet had a chance to see the giant sequoias). The largest superorganism I’ve ever seen is a coral reef. And if we might wish to speak loosely, then perhaps the largest living thing I’ve seen is the Earth.

@Coloma We’re not talking anything, we’re still talking living things. Coral reefs are still living things insofar as they are superorganisms. Oceans, however, are not.

Jeruba's avatar

If we’re counting trees, then I’d have to say the giant sequoias, over 300 feet tall.

As for sentient beings, I’ve never seen a whale, but I’ve seen orcas at Marine World. Some of them outweigh elephants. And I’ve seen many elephants, at zoos and circuses.

DominicX's avatar

The giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park. They are among the largest in the world, the tallest at least.

bookish1's avatar

Wow, I hope I get to see a sequoia some day… I’ve been close to elephants and I also saw a huge community of banyan trees in India the size of several city blocks, that could all have been one single organism, but I wasn’t sure.

@Brian1946: So are you going to share with us your friend’s daughter’s intriguing answer?

ucme's avatar

When I first saw an owl at the zoo when I was a kid, I was truly freaked out. Here’s me thinking they were like little mice with wings & a twisty neck, those fuckers are mahoosive!!

intrepidium's avatar

Ummm, planet Earth (or part thereof) viewed from an airplane? That assumes the Gaia hypothesis but I’d think it applies broadly, right?

majorrich's avatar

There was this woman at the gas station who was as large as anything I had ever seen at the zoo. And when she walked, it looked like she was stealing about 50 gallons of gasoline in great huge bags strapped to her hips. She was a walking lava lamp, only in fast motion. I couldn’t look away even after my eyes started bleeding.

Sunny2's avatar

Yeah, size is relative. A male African elephant is the largest I’ve been close to. When it comes to plants, are you measuring height, volume, or mass?

Coloma's avatar

@bookish1 Gotcha.

Oh, I’ll add my neigh-bor, a huge draft horse named Dusty. He is scary, sweet but a bit pushy and has hooves the size of my head. Once he “playfully” pushed me with his head when I ran out of carrots, knocked me on my face.

downtide's avatar

@Sunny2 when I thought of the trees I’ve seen I was thinking of their volume rather than their height or mass. Although I’m sure even by mass they’d be heavier than the largest animal I’ve seen which is an African elephant.

Berserker's avatar

@ucme Lol yeah, some owls can get pretty huge. Saw some of the zoo as well, some are nearly as big as bald eagles. I was like, whoa dude. O_o

Jeruba's avatar

Now, that’s a tricky question, @Sunny2. The Fremont Tree (which I’ve crawled into many times) is pretty big, though not as tall as the tallest coast redwood in Henry Cowell State Park, which is somewhere near 280 feet. But it’s hollow. I once watched a busload of French tourists count themselves as they climbed out. They got to 23, and I thought that was a lot. But look here: 81 visitors from Utah set a new record in June—and they are not all small.

So—you have to give it girth and height, but it’s lacking 81 tourists’ worth of volume.

ucme's avatar

@Symbeline There’s one called an eagle owl which is basically the big bad mofo of the owl kingdom. It was just standing there on it’s perch thing looking at me like I was shit on it’s shoe.
Could quite easily have swallowed a small family car XD

redfeather's avatar

I guess an elephant

Berserker's avatar

@ucme LOL you sure have a way of wording things. :D

woodcutter's avatar

Probably an elephant or a right whale. I’m not sure which one was bigger.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Okay @Brian1946 What was the answer that the daughter’s friend gave you that was so intriguing?

Kardamom's avatar

Gray whales, elephants and Giant Sequoias.

The biggest dog I’ve ever seen in person, was a fuzzy, sweet old Irish Wolfhound love those dogs : )

downtide's avatar

@Kardamom I’ve seen wolfhounds and I’ve also seen an English Mastiff They’re not as tall as a wolfhound but they are much heavier. The one I met was very friendly and gentle. Bull Mastiffs are even bigger. You could probably put a saddle on that thing and ride it.

Brian1946's avatar

@bookish1 @Pied_Pfeffer


I’m so sorry I didn’t promptly answer your questions, because in the 6½ years since I posted this, I forgot what her answer was.

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