The Healthy Heart: Lessons from Nature's Elite Athletes. Academic Article uri icon


  • The incidence of cardiovascular disease in humans is more than three times that of many wild and domestic mammals despite nearly identical heart morphologies and responses to exercise. A survey of mammalian species from 0.002-kg shrews to 43,000-kg whales shows that the human heart is more dog-like than cat-like and that neither body size nor longevity accounts for the relative vulnerability to cardiovascular disease. Rather, a major difference is daily activity patterns, which may underlie the comparatively healthy hearts of wild mammals.

published proceedings

  • Physiology (Bethesda)

altmetric score

  • 14.8

author list (cited authors)

  • Williams, T. M., Bengtson, P., Steller, D. L., Croll, D. A., & Davis, R. W.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Williams, Terrie M||Bengtson, Penni||Steller, Diana L||Croll, Donald A||Davis, Randall W

publication date

  • September 2015