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Sample size and mass range effects on the allometric exponent of basal metabolic rate.

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Environmental Biology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, SA, Australia.


The controversial relationship between body mass and basal metabolic rate in animals revolves around two questions: what is the allometric scaling exponent and what is the functional basis for it? For mammals, the first question could be resolved if measurements from all 4600 extant species were available, but this study shows that data for only 150 species, spanning three to four orders of magnitude variation in body mass, are sufficient to accurately determine the exponent. Because the currently available data set includes about 600 species that vary over five orders of magnitude in body size, further increases in sample size are unlikely to change the estimate of the scaling exponent.

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