Fowl Hearted

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HeartfowlWhile chopping ingredients for a Sunday lunch, I found myself staring at the small heart of a chicken. I had boiled several chicken hearts along with a couple of livers and a plump, boned breast. The salt and pepper in the water must have helped leach out the angry redness, the pulp of life. Steam slowly rose from the bowl of cooked chicken pieces on my table. What’s a lazy Sunday for, if not time to spend in careful consideration of various exotica?

I cut the tiny heart into quarters, and peering curiously at it, I saw how clean the inside was. It was a heart devoid of complications.

Am I on to something here?

The thought of that tiny heart with its clean interior remained with me even as I buckled down to the work week. On the Web, I found this:

Birds have a much higher metabolic rate than humans. The average body temperature of a chicken is 41-45 degrees C, compared to a human’s average body temperature of 37 degrees C. The pulse rate of a chicken can reach as high as 400 beats/min. All of these factors place a great demand on the chicken’s heart which has to work much harder than a human heart.

Interesting. Must be terribly exciting, a fowl’s life. I’ve yet to hear though, of a chicken dying of a heart attack. This could be because:

The inside walls of the atria and ventricles are much smoother than those of the human. And the valves, though present, are much simpler. The smoother walls and simpler valves of the bird’s heart reduces friction as the blood is pumped through; less friction means less work.

The ventricles of the bird heart have more muscle mass and less chamber space than those of a human.

What practical purpose does this random rumination hold, you might ask. Maybe this all boils down to the realization that, if one went through life chicken-hearted, one would have less space for heartache.

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