Fires of Life: Endothermy in Birds and Mammals

Fires of Life: Endothermy in Birds and Mammals


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A groundbreaking argument on how endothermy—arguably the most important innovation in vertebrate evolution—developed in birds and mammals

“Vividly narrated and illustrated. . . . Provocative and fascinating for specialists and lay readers alike.”—Southeastern Naturalist 

This pioneering work investigates why endothermy, or “warm-bloodedness,” evolved in birds and mammals, despite its enormous energetic costs. Arguing that single-cause hypotheses to explain the origins of endothermy have stalled research since the 1970s, Barry Gordon Lovegrove advances a novel conceptual framework that considers multiple potential causes and integrates data from the southern as well as the northern hemisphere. Drawing on paleontological data; research on extant species in places like the Karoo, Namaqualand, Madagascar, and Borneo; and novel physiological models, Lovegrove builds a compelling new explanation for the evolution of endothermy. Vividly narrated and illustrated, this book stages a groundbreaking argument that should prove provocative and fascinating for specialists and lay readers alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300227161
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Barry Gordon Lovegrove is professor emeritus in the School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is the author of The Living Deserts of Southern Africa, winner of the 1995 University of Natal Book Prize, and co-editor of Hypometabolism in Animals.

Table of Contents

Foreword Roger S. Seymour xi

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xxi

Part I The Story in the Rocks

1 A Narrative of Travels 3

2 Conquering Land: Ticking Boxes 16

3 The Karoo 41

4 The Permo-Triassic Kick-Start 53

5 Reptile Takeover 68

6 The Great Shrinking 83

7 Feathers and Fur 95

8 Taking to the Air 111

9 The Heat of Darkness 122

Part II The Story in the Bloods

10 The Day of Reckoning 145

11 Clown Mouse and Golden Mole 170

12 Madness 185

13 Ankarafantsika 195

14 Ancient Hibernation 209

15 Twenty-Four Nipples 230

16 The Pronghorn Pinnacle 241

17 Cool Sperm 260

18 Why We Are Hot 284

Appendix 1 Heat on Demand 307

Appendix 2 Nasal Evaporative Cooling 313

Appendix 3 Family Trees 315

References 323

Index 345

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