PerspectiveEcology

Elephants, Mice, and Red Herrings

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Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1245-1247
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072300

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Summary

In Kleiber's/power law, mammalian basal metabolic rate is calculated to increase according to body mass raised to the power of 0.75. The underlying basis of this scaling relationship has fascinated biologists for more than 70 years. In his Perspective, Burness explains new findings published elsewhere demonstrating that this scaling relationship depends not on a single rate-limiting step in a metabolic pathway or physiological system, but rather, on many interconnected steps.