Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Rete Mirabile

Literally, miraculous network. Meshwork of interlaced veins and arteries that functions as a thermal circulatory exchange mechanism in such animals as bluefin tuna, wading birds, and some cervids. A similar meshwork is found in the limbs of lorisids, pre-sumably as an adaptation for supplying oxygen to the muscles of the lower limbs, which allows lorisids to grip branches for long periods of time. The latter case is more accurately termed collateral vascularization, however, as it does not function in temperature regulation.

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