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Why Don’t Blue Whales Get Cancer?

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 02, 2020

Even though larger animals like elephants and blue whales have up to 100 billion more cells than humans in their bodies — and therefore many more chances for harmful mutations to develop — they are much more immune to cancer. This is called Peto’s paradox the subject of Kurzgesagt’s latest video. Scientists aren’t sure why this happens, but one hypothesis is that in order to have grown so large, the evolutionary process that resulted in these animals provided built-in defenses against cancer that other animals didn’t need. Further reading on the topic is available here.