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Dichotomy of eutherian reproduction and metabolism


Müller, D W H; Codron, D; Werner, J; Fritz, J; Hummel, J; Griebeler, E M; Clauss, Marcus (2012). Dichotomy of eutherian reproduction and metabolism. Oikos, 121(1):102-115.

Abstract

How anatomical, physiological and ecological (life history) features scale with body mass is a fundamental question in biology. There is an ongoing debate in the scientific literature whether allometric scaling follows a universal pattern that can be described in a single model, or diff ers between groups. However, recently some analyses were published demonstrating a change in scaling across the body mass range: brain-size allometry of mammals indicates that scaling follows a curvilinear pattern in double-logarithmic space, and a quadratic pattern in double-logarithmic space was found in one of the largest physiological datasets, on basal metabolic rate (MR) in mammals. Here, we analysed a variety of independent datasets on anatomical, physiological and ecological characteristics in mammals, birds and reptiles to answer the question whether the quadratic scaling is a universal biological law, or a pattern unique to mammals. Th e pattern was present in mammalian basal and field MR, brain size, and reproduction parameters, but neither in other organ allometries in mammals, nor in the scaling of MR in birds and reptiles. However, the curvature was better explained by separate allometric scaling of three different mammalian reproduction strategies: marsupials, and eutherian mammals with one and with many off spring. The two latter strategies are distributed unequally over the body mass range in eutherian mammals. Our fi ndings show that a quadratic model, as well as a traditional allometric model with a universal scaling exponent (such as 0.67 or 0.75), may be inappropriate in mammals as they are a result of different scalings within these three reproductive groups. We propose that the observed distribution pattern is the result of the eutherian mammal clade’s uniquely pronounced dichotomy of reproductive strategies.

How anatomical, physiological and ecological (life history) features scale with body mass is a fundamental question in biology. There is an ongoing debate in the scientific literature whether allometric scaling follows a universal pattern that can be described in a single model, or diff ers between groups. However, recently some analyses were published demonstrating a change in scaling across the body mass range: brain-size allometry of mammals indicates that scaling follows a curvilinear pattern in double-logarithmic space, and a quadratic pattern in double-logarithmic space was found in one of the largest physiological datasets, on basal metabolic rate (MR) in mammals. Here, we analysed a variety of independent datasets on anatomical, physiological and ecological characteristics in mammals, birds and reptiles to answer the question whether the quadratic scaling is a universal biological law, or a pattern unique to mammals. Th e pattern was present in mammalian basal and field MR, brain size, and reproduction parameters, but neither in other organ allometries in mammals, nor in the scaling of MR in birds and reptiles. However, the curvature was better explained by separate allometric scaling of three different mammalian reproduction strategies: marsupials, and eutherian mammals with one and with many off spring. The two latter strategies are distributed unequally over the body mass range in eutherian mammals. Our fi ndings show that a quadratic model, as well as a traditional allometric model with a universal scaling exponent (such as 0.67 or 0.75), may be inappropriate in mammals as they are a result of different scalings within these three reproductive groups. We propose that the observed distribution pattern is the result of the eutherian mammal clade’s uniquely pronounced dichotomy of reproductive strategies.

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18 citations in Web of Science®
19 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:09 Jan 2012 12:22
Last Modified:12 Sep 2016 07:38
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0030-1299
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19505.x
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-53694

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