Scaling: Why is Animal Size So Important?

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 27, 1984 - Medical - 241 pages
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.

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I read this book cover to cover many years ago and have gone back to it many times. I have never read a better book on the subject. It's interesting, rich in real data, and readable. I have used the material in my general physics lectures such that even the bored biology students so the relevance of physics. 


Allometric scaling
Scaling fish
Egg size and bird size
lighter skeletons?
Specific metabolic rate
What do metabolic regression
Organ size and tissue metabolism
Bird lungs
The meaning of time
Animal activity and metabolic scope
running and jumping
Swimming and flying
Body temperature and temperature regulation
Some important concepts
Symbols used
Recalculation of equations according to units used

Blood and gas transport
Heart and circulation

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Page 226 - PS (1964). Respiration of fishes with special emphasis on standard oxygen consumption. I. Influence of weight and temperature on respiration of goldfish Carassius auratus L.
Page 232 - JW 1931. Growth and gill development in the small-mouthed black bass, Micropterus dolomieu, Lace'pede.

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