Temperature regulation in homeotherms, Biology

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Temperature Regulation in Homeotherms

Homeothermy is regulation of body temperature by physiological means. The stabilisation of body temperature permits a steady high level of activity, both metabolic and locomotory. The advantages are obvious in behavioural, social and cultural evolution, demanding continuous association of individuals. Maintenance of a constant body temperature involves a perfect balance between heat production and heat loss. It demands a sensitive thermostat in the brain, a capacity not only to use heat formed as a by product of metabolism but also to increase the output of metabolic energy in accordance with demands. In addition, it requires several anatomical modifications such as appropriate insulation and special heat exchangers.

In extreme conditions, the metabolic price of a regulated by temperature may become too high so that some species temporarily suspend temperature control (torpidity and hibernation) or migrate to more favourable climates. In man, there is behavioural evasion of extremes with the development of clothing, air conditioning and other technological devices.


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