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Encyclopedia > Gigantothermy

Gigantothermy 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 that smaller animals by virtue of their greater volume to surface area ratio. 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. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Paleontology, palaeontology or palæontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. ... Cold-blooded organisms, more technically known as poikilothermic, are animals that have no internal metabolic mechanism for regulating their body temperatures. ... Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when temperature surrounding is very different. ... The volume of a solid object is the three-dimensional concept of how much space it occupies, often quantified numerically. ... This article explains the meaning of area as a Physical quantity. ...

The phenomenon is important in the biology of ectothermic megafauna, such as large turtles (particularly the Leatherback Sea Turtle), dinosaurs, and aquatic reptiles like ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs. It is also present in certain large fish, most notably the great white shark. Gigantotherms, though almost always ectothermic, generally have a body temperature and metabolic rate similar to that of endotherms. The mammoth, an extinct genus of megafauna. ... blue: sea turtles, black: land turtles Suborders Cryptodira Pleurodira See text for families. ... Binomial name Dermochelys coriacea (Vandelli, 1761) The beautiful Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the biggest of all living turtles, reaching a length of over 2. ... Orders & Suborders Saurischia Sauropodomorpha Theropoda Ornithischia Thyreophora Ornithopoda Marginocephalia Dinosaurs were vertebrate animals that dominated the terrestrial ecosystem for over 160 million years, first appearing approximately 230 million years ago. ... Families Ichthyosauridae Leptonectidae Mixosauridae Ophthalmosauridae Shastasauridae Stenopterygiidae Teretocnemidae Ichthyosaurs (Greek for fish lizard - ιχθυς meaning fish and σαυρος meaning lizard) were giant marine reptiles that resembled fish and dolphins. ... Subfamilies Mosasaurinae Plioplatecarpinae Tylosaurinae Mosasaurs (from Latin Mosa, the Meuse river where the fossils were first discovered + Greek sauros, lizard) were serpentine marine reptiles, more closely related to snakes than to monitor lizards (Lee 1997). ... Binomial name Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758) Range (in blue) The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, also known as white pointer, white shark, or white death, is an exceptionally large lamniforme shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. ... A few of the metabolic pathways in a cell. ... A warm-blooded (homeothermic) animal is one that can keep its core body temperature at a nearly constant level regardless of the temperature of the surrounding environment (that is, to maintain thermal homeostasis) . This can involve not only the ability to generate heat, but also the ability to cool down...

See also

The large size of a polar bear allows it to radiate less heat in a cold climate. ...

External links

  • Google scholar
  • Big dinosaurs 'had warmer blood'
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  Results from FactBites:
This theory, termed 'gigantothermy', together with the possible aid of plates, spikes, frills or nasal cavities used as heat exchangers, proposes that large dinosaurs living for the most part in a warm environment could in fact have found the body temperature of a fully warm-blooded animal thermally stressful and disadvantageous.
Although gigantothermy provides for increased efficiency of temperature regulation, it is still far less efficient than true warm-bloodedness (6 - 8 degrees C variation instead of 1 -2 degrees), and warm-blooded animals would still be expected to win easily in any evolutionary competition.
Gigantothermy also does not address the problem that all dinosaurs arose initially from relatively small ancestors, certainly too small for gigantothermy to have any impact.
  More results at FactBites »



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