Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Surface-mass Law

Empirical observation that the surface area of a spherical object doubles as its mass triples. Since animals lose body heat roughly in proportion to the combined surface area of their bodies and lungs, an animal with a circular or thick body will have a minimal surface area for its mass, and therefore retain heat, while another animal of equal mass but with a lineal body build will lose heat more rapidly.

See Bergmann’s rule and Allen’s rule.

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