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Freshly Baked Science

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How Did The Grinch's Heart Grow?

15th December 2018

At the end of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, the Grinch’s heart grows 3 sizes as he starts to feel love again. Of course, as scientists, we know that an increase in love doesn’t actually increase the size of your heart, but there are other reasons for a heart growing. We’ve explored these options to come up with a logical reason why his heart may have grown.


Cardiologist, David Kass, suggests that if he ever had a patient whose heart had suddenly enlarged, he would suspect heart failure. Enlargement is a sign of heart failure, as when the heart gets larger, it gets weaker. Although this may seem to fit the Grinch’s problem, a patient with heart failure would not be parading around as a Cheermeister, he would instead be feeling short of breath and very under the weather. So, heart failure can be ruled out!


A ruptured valve could also be the cause of a suddenly enlarged heart. The cause of this is usually drug abuse, which we think we can rule out considering the film spends a lot of time focusing on the Grinch’s lifestyle and not once do we see him taking any drugs!


While it doesn’t seem as though the Grinch has any medical problems that caused his heart to enlarge, there is another possible explanation; the Grinch is a snake. As in a reptile, not the kind of snake that would go talking behind your back! A python’s heart increases inside after a big meal to meet the metabolic needs of digestion. After digestion, their heart shrinks right back down to its original size! How cool is that?!


If you recall, while the Grinch is on his ‘anti-Santa’ journey, stealing all the presents from houses, he also eats food from the family’s houses! It could be that the Grinch’s heart expands after he’s finished munching his way through Whoville, to keep up with the metabolic demands of digesting all that turkey and all os those mince pies!


The fact that the Grinch may, in fact, be a snake is our favourite theory as to why his heart grew, after all, he is green! Have you got any other theories? We’d love to hear them! Send us an email (hannah@wonkmagazine.co.uk) or a message on social media (@wonkscience) with your thoughts!

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