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      Evolution of homeothermy in mammals

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      Nature

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          We propose that mammalian homeothermy was was acquired in two steps. The first step enabled mammals to invade a nocturnal niche without an increase in resting metabolic rate. The second step enabled them to invade a diurnal niche and involved the acquisition of higher body temperatures and metabolic rates.

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          Most cited references 7

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          The postcranial skeletons of the Triassic mammals Eozostrodon, Megazostrodon and Erythrotherium.

          The purposes of this monograph are to describe the postcranial skeletons of the earliest known mammals, and to probe, in so far as possible by osteological study, biological questions concerning the habits and adaptations of these late Triassic forms. In this context, information on the background of this investigation is useful. Studies of Mesozoic mammals, begun some 150 years ago, are based on rare and fragmentary fossils, principally jaws and teeth. These investigations have yielded a bare outline of some 120 million years of mammalian evolution-about two-thirds of mammalian history. No assessment of the important biological changes occurring during this time can ever be complete, but major advances are possible as new discoveries provide material that is more complete or that represents a previously unknown evolutionary stage. So tenuous is the evidence that at least some concepts are re-evaluated with each discovery. Postcranial anatomy offers especially intriguing prospects for investigation because associated material (that can be positively assigned to a taxon below subclass) has been for the most part unknown, and indeed even dissociated bones are a rarity. Since G.G. Simpson's monographs of 1928 and 1929, progress in the study of Mesozoic mammals has been largely dependent on new finds. A major impetus to renewed investigation came from the discoveries of Mesozoic mammals by Walter Kühne in 1939 and during the immediate post-war years. Kühne first worked on fissures in the Carboniferous limestone quarries at Frome, Somerset, in southwest England where he collected a series of teeth of the problematical form Haramiya and two triconodont teeth which were placed in the genus Eozostrodon (Parrington 1941, 1946). The fissure faunas are generally thought to be of Upper Triassic (Rhaetic) age (Kühne 1946), although Kermack, Musset & Rigney (1973) believe that the evidence is insufficient to determine whether the deposits are Rhaetic or Lower Liassic. After the war Kühne carried his explorations farther west, eventually reaching the quarries at Bridgend in Glamorgan, Wales, where he not only found more triconodont teeth in some quantity (Kühne 1958) but also a symmetrodont tooth (Kühne 1950). Shortly after making these discoveries, Kühne returned to Germany and the work was continued by a team from University College, London, under the leadership of Dr K.A. Kermack.
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            Behavioral Thermoregulation in Lizards: Importance of Associated Costs

             R Huey (1974)
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              Using body size to understand the structural design of animals: quadrupedal locomotion.

              Many parameters of gait and performance, including stride frequency, stride length, maximum speed, and rate of O2 uptake are experimentally found to be power-law functions of body weight in running quadrupeds. All of these parameters are reasonably easy to measure except maximum speed, where the question arises whether one means top sprinting speed or top speed for sustained running. Moreover, differences in training and motivation make comparisons of top speed difficult. The problem is circumvented by comparing animals running at the transition between trotting and galloping, a physiologically similar speed. Theoretical models are proposed which preserve either geometric similarity, elastic similarity, or static stress similarity between animals of large and small body weights. The model postulating elastic similarity provides the best correlation with published data on body and bone proportions, body surface area, resting metabolic rate, and basal heart and lung frequencies. It also makes the most successful prediction of stride frequency, stride length, limb excursion angles, and the metabolic power required for running at the trot-gallop transition in quadrupeds ranging in size from mice to horses.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                March 1978
                March 1978
                : 272
                : 5651
                : 333-336
                Article
                10.1038/272333a0
                634356
                © 1978

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