The constancy of the internal environment and the concept of homeostasis have been two powerful organising paradigms in the field of vertebrate physiology since they were first enunciated in the late 19th and early 20th century. This book examines the extent to which desert-living reptiles are governed by these same principles which spring from the study of the more physically advanced birds and mammals. Ecophysiological studies on reptiles by S.D. Bradshaw show that they experience major changes in the composition of their internal environment, especially during periods of prolonged water deprivation. One of the central questions is whether such episodes result from an inherently limited ability to regulate the composition of the body fluids, or whether they should be viewed as adaptive responses.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -198) and indexes.
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