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Scaling : Why Is Animal Size So Important? (84 Edition)by Knut Schmidt-nielsen
Synopses & Reviews
Galileo wrote that andldquo;nature cannot produce a horse as large as twenty ordinary horses or a giant ten times taller than an ordinary man unless by miracle or by greatly altering the proportions of his limbs and especially of his bonesandrdquo;andmdash;a statement that wonderfully captures a long-standing scientific fascination with body size. Why are organisms the size that they are? And what determines their optimum size?and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;
This volume explores animal body size from a macroecological perspective, examining species, populations, and other large groups of animals in order to uncover the patterns and causal mechanisms of body size throughout time and across the globe. The chapters represent diverse scientific perspectives and are divided into two sections. The first includes chapters on insects, snails, birds, bats, and terrestrial mammals and discusses the body size patterns of these various organisms. The second examines some of the factors behind, and consequences of, body size patterns and includes chapters on community assembly, body mass distribution, life history, and the influence of flight on body size.
This book is about the importance of animal size.
This book is about the importance of animal size. We tend to think of animal function in chemical terms and talk of water, salts, proteins, enzymes, oxygen, energy, and so on. We should not forget, however, that physical laws are equally important, for they determine rates of diffusion and heat transfer, transfer of force and momentum, the strength of structures, the dynamics of locomotion, and other aspects of the functioning of animal bodies. Physical laws provide possibilities and opportunities for an organism, yet they also impose constraints, setting limits to what is physically possible. This book aims to give an understanding of these rules because of their profound implications when we deal with animals of widely different size and scale. The reader will find that the book raises many questions. Remarkable and puzzling information makes it read a little like a detective story, but the last chapter, instead of giving the final solution, neither answers all questions nor provides one great unifying principle.
This short, non-mathematical discussion of how the physical size of an animal affects its physiological functions can be read profitably by both students and professional scientists. Elegantly written, the book illuminates those physical laws controlling rates of diffusion and heat transfer, transfer of force and momentum, the strength of structures, the dynamics of locomotion, and so on. It shows how these laws have profound implications for animals of widely different size and scale and why the size of living things is of such fundamental importance.
About the Author
Felisa A. Smith is professor of biology at the University of New Mexico and lives in Santa Fe, NM.
S. Kathleen Lyons is a research scientist in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History and lives in Arlington, VA.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. The size of living things; 2. Problems of size and scale; 3. The use of allometry; 4. How to scale eggs; 5. The strength of bones and skeletons; 6. Metabolic rate and body size; 7. Warm-blooded vertebrates: what do metabolic regression equations mean?; 8. Organ size and tissue metabolism; 9. How the lungs supply enough oxygen; 10. Blood and gas transport; 11. Heart and circulation; 12. The meaning of time; 13. Animal activity and metabolic scope; 14. Moving on land: running and jumping; 15. Swimmng and flying; 16. Body temperature and temperature regulation; 17. Some important concepts; Appendixes; References; Index.
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