The Evolution of Energetics in Birds and Mammals

Brian K. McNab

in The Quintessential Naturalist

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780520098596
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916159 | DOI:
The Evolution of Energetics in Birds and Mammals

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This chapter provides a far-ranging review of the evolution of energetics in both birds and mammals. It notes that energetics effectively integrates diverse aspects of the natural history of an organism with conditions in the environment. The chapter explains that this integration is most evident in endotherms as a result of their high cost of maintenance and the limited quantities and qualities of resources in most environments. It emphasizes that endotherms which show the greatest ecological and behavioral diversity have the largest diversity in energetics. The chapter notes that basal energy expenditures in endotherms are correlated principally with body mass, but also with body composition and its relation to activity level, food habits, climate and its surrogates latitude and altitude, as well as life with restrictive habits or in restrictive environments.

Keywords: evolution; energetics; birds and mammals; organism; endotherms; behavioral diversity; basal energy expenditures; body mass; surrogates

Chapter.  17652 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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