The article published today in Nature offers the first systematic study, based on an extensive sample of mammals representative of a large variety of ecosystems, which shows that LAGs do not indicate an ectothermic physiology but give us information about how the physiology (metabolism) of an animal changes according to seasonal endocrinal changes, both in cold- and warm-blooded animals. These changes represent a common heritage in all vertebrates and are a kind of internal clock that regulates the animals' needs according to the seasonal availability of resources. Despite the fact that these physiological changes have a strong genetic component, they are also functional and their intensity depends on the ecological conditions in which the animals live. The main ecological factors are more rain and limited supply of food and water, rather than external temperature. This discovery opens up a major line of research into the conservation of biodiversity on our planet today.
Researcher Meike Khler says:
It may seem surprising that until now there has not been a similar systematic study to prove or disprove whether it is only ectotherms that leave these marks in their bones during growth. In fact, there are so many things we do not know that science does not always advance in a linear way. The ideas somehow had long been wandering among the scientific community, but the work we have published organizes them and bases them on data.
|Contact: Maria Jesus Delgado|
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona