This post is by Nick Routley from Visual Capitalist
Visualizing the Biomass of All the World’s Mammals
Even as we understand more about the world we live in, certain aspects of it remain undefined or hard to comprehend.
One such example is in the scale and distribution of Earth’s life. What’s the ratio of wild to domesticated animals? How much do all of the world’s humans weigh?
Until recently, such questions were nearly unanswerable. A new report titled The Global Biomass of Wild Mammals helps shed more light on the composition and scale of life on our planet. The research provides an estimate of the biomass of all mammals, globally—including humans.
So, What is Biomass Anyway?
Humans and animals are commonly referred to as “carbon-based lifeforms”. This is for good reason. Carbon is present in every single living organism as complex molecules and compounds, making it an essential part of our biology. Biomass, or the mass of organisms, is typically measured in terms of carbon makeup because it is the one thing that all life on Earth shares.
These carbon building blocks are used as a form of measurement in the visualization above.
One component worth pointing out is that animals contribute very different amounts to the world’s biomass total. By sheer volume alone, rodents make up a significant share of wild mammal weight. Whales, on the other hand, are massive, so a smaller number of individuals can contribute a meaningful portion to overall biomass.
Mammalian Biomass, Organized Neatly
Each larger cube above represents 20 million metric tons (Read more...)