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Evolution. 2002 Nov;56(11):2330-3.

Phylogeny affects estimation of metabolic scaling in mammals.

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Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.


The relationship between body size and metabolic rate is a crucial issue in organismal biology and evolution. There has been considerable debate over whether the scaling exponent of the relationship is 0.75 (Kleiber's Law) or 0.67. Here we show that determination of this exponent for mammals depends on both the evolutionary tree and the regression model used in the comparative analysis. For example, more recent molecular-based phylogenies tend to support a 0.67 exponent, whereas older phylogenies, mostly based on morphological data, suggest a 0.75 exponent. However, molecular phylogenies yield more variable results than morphological phylogenies and thus are not currently helping to resolve the issue.

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