The laws of evolution dictate the definite rules to the living beings of the natural world. Thus, the high level of adaptation abilities can be considered as the decisive factor for many animals which is necessary for them to survive and be flexible under the influence of the extreme environmental conditions.
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The necessity to survive is also associated with the necessity to participate in the natural intraspecific competition. In this case, the history of evolution discusses the question whether endothermic animals are better suited than exothermic animals to survive under these conditions of the natural competition.
Although the forms of thermoregulation of both the endothermic and exothermic animals are different, their systems complete the same function of the thermoregulation. That is why the possibilities of the adaptation of endothermic and exothermic animals can be compared only according to the peculiarities of fitting these systems to the concrete environmental and ecological situation.
To understand the peculiarities of the thermoregulation system of the both types of animals, it is necessary to focus on the definitions of endothermic and exothermic animals. Endothermic animals have the ability to generate their own metabolical heat and not to receive it from the environments.
The temperature of the bodies of these animals is generally constant. Exothermic animals receive the heat from the external sources. They cannot generate their own heat and use the energy of the sun. The temperature of their bodies can vary according to the temperature characteristics of the surroundings (Bekoff & Byers, 1998).
The comparison of the adaptation ability of endothermic and exothermic animals depends on determining the amount of energy the animals use to adapt to the definite environmental and ecological situation. Thus, animals are greatly affected by the changes of the high and low temperatures.
Using the inner resources in order to regulate the temperature of the body according to the surroundings, the endothermic animals produce the metabolic heat and spend a lot of energy which is necessary for providing the other important functions in the organism. To control the situation, endothermic animals are inclined to migrations in order to find the appropriate or thermoneutral climate zones or even microclimates for small animals (Smith & Smith, 2008).
From this point, exothermic animals can be considered as more adaptable to the environments because they use the external resources of the energy. That is why exothermic animals can take the leading positions according to the history of the evolution. However, it is significant to pay attention to a lot of additional aspects in order to state that exothermic animals can success in the natural competition.
The work of the endothermic and exothermic animals’ thermoregulation system depends on such aspects as the work of the thermal effectors which help animals react to the changes in the temperature of the environments and on the phenomenon of torpor which is mostly typical for exothermic animals, but there are also the examples of torpor in the world of endothermic animals.
Torpor gives animals the opportunity to preserve their energy under the situation of the adaptation to the environments. Moreover, exothermic animals more actively use their ability to minimize the spending of the energy with minimizing the influence of the sun heat which can affect the changes in the temperature. Thus, the temperature of exothermic animals’ bodies can remain stable during a long period of time (Turner, 2002).
It is possible to state that exothermic animals can be discussed as more adaptable to the environments under the influence of definite climatic changes. However, the thermoregulation system of the endothermic animals is effective when it is important to save the initial temperature of the animal’s body.
Bekoff, M. & Byers, J. A. (1998). Animal play: Evolutionary, comparative and ecological perspectives. USA: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, T. M. & Smith, R. L. (2008). Elements of ecology. USA: Benjamin Cummings.
Turner, J. S. (2002). The extended organism: The physiology of anima-built structures. USA: Harvard University Press.