By Mark Denny, Alan McFadzean
The alarm calls of birds cause them to tough for predators to find, whereas the howl of wolves and the croak of bullfrogs are designed to hold throughout lengthy distances. From an engineer’s viewpoint, how do such really good variations between dwelling issues fairly paintings? and the way does physics constrain evolution, channeling it specifically directions?
Writing with wit and a richly trained experience of ask yourself, Mark Denny and Alan McFadzean supply knowledgeable examine animals as works of engineering, each one exquisitely tailored to a selected demeanour of survival, no matter if that implies spinning webs or flying throughout continents or looking within the dark—or writing books. this actual e-book, containing greater than 100 illustrations, conveys basically, for engineers and nonengineers alike, the actual ideas underlying animal constitution and behavior.
Pigeons, for instance—when understood as marvels of engineering—are flying distant sensors: they've got wideband acoustical receivers, hi-res optics, magnetic sensing, and celestial navigation. Albatrosses dissipate little strength whereas touring throughout significant southern oceans, by way of exploiting a method recognized to glider pilots as dynamic hovering. between bugs, one species of fly can find the resource of a valid accurately, even if the fly itself is far smaller than the wavelength of the sound it hears. And that big-brained, upright nice Ape? Evolution has outfitted us to determine an immense truth in regards to the flora and fauna: that there's extra to lifestyles than engineering, yet no existence in any respect with out it.
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Additional info for Engineering Animals: How Life Works
Thanks to Rich Swanner for this image. 33 Other small birds in cool regions of the world may also resort to torpor to see them through the night. 34 Being nearly dead for much of their lives is the price they pay—because of energy flow. 2 Structural Engineering The Bare Bones An animal’s structure is based on its skeleton, just as a building’s is based on its frame. Frames vary enormously and so do skeletons. Many skyscrapers have a central core that supports the weight of the building—a backbone.
Heat can be absorbed or lost via conduction (think of a pig or hippo wallowing in mud), convection (wind cooling), radiation (ectotherms, such as snakes, basking in the sun), or evaporation (sweating). Fur, feathers, and blubber provide insulation, and as 32 structure and movement we have seen, body shape and size further influence heat loss. Tuna and sharks swim constantly, and so their active swimming muscles continually generate heat; these muscles are located centrally and so maintain core temperature above ambient.
Biologists do not yet fully agree among themselves on just what that principle is, but progress is being made. Here we give a few examples of candidate scaling theories and of the underlying principles that they invoke. Rubner developed his rule based upon the following observation. The rate at which a resting mammal consumes energy—its basal metabolic rate—is proportional to the heat that it loses: this must be true, more or less, because otherwise the animal would cook itself or freeze. We have seen that heat is lost through the surface, and so the basal metabolic rate is proportional to surface area.
Engineering Animals: How Life Works by Mark Denny, Alan McFadzean