Badger Surface Area-to-Volume Ratio in Relation to Climate

Cailey Shaw, Taryn Valentine, Lauren Schmidt, Michael Cobbs


The scientific community has been puzzled to observe that different regions of the world are inhabited by badgers of varying lengths and weights (French, 2014). According to research, smaller, more compact species of badgers typically inhabit cooler climates such as northeastern India and the Ural-Volga region of Russia to China (French, 2014).  We propose that badgers with a smaller surface area to volume ratio thrive in cooler climates because their compact size would allow them to conserve heat.   If our hypothesis is correct, this will explain why badgers in different climates have different physical properties (French, 2014).  To test this, we used two masses of clay in place of badgers.  We conducted two experiments. In each, the clay shapes both had a mass of 107.5 grams, but one was spherical while the other was cylindrical.  We heated each shape to a core temperature of 30 °C by placing it on a heating pad.  After they reached the desired core temperature, we removed the objects and recorded their respective cooling rates as they returned to 25 °C. If the spheres exhibited slower cooling rates, our experiments would support our hypothesis.

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