On the relationship between body mass and heat loss within badger species

Melissa Givens, Wyatt Jones, Michael Cobbs, Courtney Lariscy


 Bergmann observed that larger species of animals live in cooler zones, and smaller animals live in warmer zones (Meiri and Dayan, 2003). We tested the validity of Bergmann’s rule by using a diverse group of badgers that live in various climates. In order to avoid experimental complications, we used clay model spheres to represent the median masses of four species of badger. We heated the clay model spheres and measured their rate of cooling. What we hoped to accomplish was to find the relationships between these different shapes and sizes that are represented by the badger population, and the climates that they live in. Our experiment hoped to show that badgers of a higher mass have the ability to retain heat better than species of badger with a smaller mass. The goal of this experiment was to explain the relationship between mass and heat retention, which can be implemented in experiments with other animal species. While our results did not support our hypothesis, this does not disprove Bergmann’s rule.


badger, rate of cooling, mass, temperature probe

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