Mammalian basal metabolic rate is proportional to body mass2/3.


The relationship between mammalian basal metabolic rate (BMR, ml of O(2) per h) and body mass (M, g) has been the subject of regular investigation for over a century. Typically, the relationship is expressed as an allometric equation of the form BMR = aM(b). The scaling exponent (b) is a point of contention throughout this body of literature, within which arguments for and against geometric (b = 2/3) and quarter-power (b = 3/4) scaling are made and rebutted. Recently, interest in the topic has been revived by published explanations for quarter-power scaling based on fractal nutrient supply networks and four-dimensional biology. Here, a new analysis of the allometry of mammalian BMR that accounts for variation associated with body temperature, digestive state, and phylogeny finds no support for a metabolic scaling exponent of 3/4. Data encompassing five orders of magnitude variation in M and featuring 619 species from 19 mammalian orders show that BMR proportional, variant M(2/3).

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0436428100

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@article{White2003MammalianBM, title={Mammalian basal metabolic rate is proportional to body mass2/3.}, author={Craig R White and Roger S Seymour}, journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America}, year={2003}, volume={100 7}, pages={4046-9} }