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Kleiber's law, named after Max Kleiber's biological work in the early 1930s, is the observation that, for the vast majority of animals, an animal's metabolic rate scales to the 3/4 power of the animal's mass. Thus a cat, having a mass 100 times that of a mouse, will have a metabolism roughly 31 times greater than that of a mouse.
Kleiber's law, as many other biological allometric laws, is a consequence of the physics and geometry of animal circulatory systems according to some authors. Young (small) organisms respire more per unit of weight than old (large) ones of the same species because of the overhead costs of growth, but small adults of one species respire more per unit of weight than large adults of another species because a larger fraction of their body mass consists of structure rather than reserve; structural mass involves maintenance costs, reserve mass does not.
- Wang Z, O'Connor TP, Heshka S, Heymsfield SB. The reconstruction of Kleiber's law at the organ-tissue level. J Nutr. 2001 Nov;131(11):2967-70.
- Rau AR. Biological scaling and physics. J Biosci. 2002 Sep;27(5):475-8.
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