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Cold-blooded is a generic term for a complex suite of characters that determine an animal's thermophysiology. These characters include:

  • ectothermy, controlling body temperature through external metabolic processes, such as by basking in the sun
  • poikilothermy, the ability of an organism to function over a wide internal temperature range
  • bradymetabolism, the ability to greatly alter metabolic rate in response to need; for example, animals that hibernate

The terms "warm-blooded" and "cold-blooded" have fallen out of favor with scientists because of their imprecision.

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