Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Kleiber’s Rule (or Law)

Empirically derived biological rule that basal metabolic rate (BMR) plotted onto body mass will produce a regression slope of 0.75 instead of 0.67. According to theory, based on the square-cube law of mathematics, as an object increases in size its surface area squares, while volume cubes, so because BMR is based on surface relationships it should scale at the 0.67 power. There is no fully accepted explanation for the observed relationship, but it has become tacitly accepted that a regression slope of 0.75 indicates a metabolic relationship between the variables. Kleiber’s rule has been demonstrated in a number of allometric studies with variables other than BMR.

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