Gigantothermy

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Gigantothermy (sometimes called ectothermic homeothermy) is a phenomenon with significance in biology and paleontology, whereby large, bulky ectothermic animals are more easily able to maintain a constant, relatively high body temperature than smaller animals by virtue of their smaller surface area to volume ratio.[1] A bigger animal has proportionately less of its body close to the outside environment than a smaller animal of otherwise similar shape, and so it gains heat from, or loses heat to, the environment much more slowly.[2]

The phenomenon is important in the biology of ectothermic megafauna, such as large turtles, and aquatic reptiles like ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs[citation needed]. Gigantotherms, though almost always ectothermic, generally have a body temperature similar to that of endotherms.[citation needed] It has been suggested that the larger dinosaurs would have been gigantothermic, rendering them virtually homeothermic.[3]

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