Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Rate Of Living Theory

Proposal based upon observations that the total energy burned per gram of body mass is about the same for all mammalian species, and therefore that the lifespan of a mammal is inversely proportional to its rate of metabolism. Proposed in 1908 by German physiologist Max Rubner (1854-1932); aka heartbeat theory because of the finite and approximately equivalent number of heartbeats seemingly available to all mammalian species.

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