Gather round ye aficionados of Middle Earth lore! Here's something you probably didn't know about the land of Balrogs and Hobbits. A new study has been conducted into the oxygen content of Middle Earth and the impact that it has on the abilities of its inhabitants.
Seriously. You know, I'm all up for fans enjoying their chosen franchises, even when it has no bearing on any major event in the narrative. But this right here is beyond fandom. This is fetishism.
The study in question, "Does the Oxygen Content of Tolkien’s Middle Earth Allow for Greater Endurance?," was conducted by Richard Walker and Alice Cooper-Dunn of The Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at the University of Leicester. In it, this studious pair investigates how The Lord of the Rings' Aragorn, aka Strider, could spend a night in Helm's Deep hacking up orcs without collapsing from exhaustion, stating that a higher level of oxygen available to him in Middle Earth would mean that he wouldn't be operating on half a lung by sun-up.
"A higher atmospheric oxygen content is shown to confer considerable physical advantage due to the higher oxygen levels in the blood, which are available to the tissues," the study reads. This may explain why Aragorn is able to pull off amazing physical feats during the war on Middle Earth. Then again, that may just be down to the fact that he's a fictional character in a fantasy novel. Just saying. [IGN]