The relationship between basal metabolism P and body mass M of 391 mammalian species has been analysed by least-squares regression, robust regression and covariance analyses. This relationship is a power function: P = aMb, where the mass exponent b is 0.678 +/− 0.007 (mean +/− S.D.) and the mass coefficient a takes different values. Theory of measurement revealed that the 2/3 mass exponent is due to an underlying dimensional relationship between the primary quantity of mass and the secondary quantity of power. This paper shows that the 2/3 mass exponent is not the physiological problem of interest. It is not the slope of the metabolic regression line, but its location in the mass/power plane, that must be explained. This location is given by the value of the mass coefficient, the explanation of which is, and remains, the central question in comparative physiology.
JOURNAL ARTICLE| 01 October 1991
Size and power in mammals
A. A. Heusner
Department of Physiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.
Online Issn: 1477-9145
Print Issn: 0022-0949
© 1991 by Company of Biologists
J Exp Biol (1991) 160 (1): 25–54.
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A. A. Heusner; Size and power in mammals. J Exp Biol 1 October 1991; 160 (1): 25–54. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.160.1.25
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