Power Laws

Power Laws During the 1930s, Kleiber1 put forward a "law"--more correctly, an empirical generalization--stating that standard metabolic rate is proportional to the three-quarters power of body mass. The recent resurgence of interest in the phenomenon caught the attention of Philip Hunter.2 The West model,3-5 which explains that Kleiber's Law features prominently in the resurgence, and Hunter does this model considerable justice in explaining it for the nonspecialist. However, Hunter's arti

Denys Wheatley
Nov 16, 2003

Power Laws

During the 1930s, Kleiber1 put forward a "law"--more correctly, an empirical generalization--stating that standard metabolic rate is proportional to the three-quarters power of body mass. The recent resurgence of interest in the phenomenon caught the attention of Philip Hunter.2

The West model,3-5 which explains that Kleiber's Law features prominently in the resurgence, and Hunter does this model considerable justice in explaining it for the nonspecialist. However, Hunter's article implies that the West model is the only explanation currently on the table, and in being uncritical, it fails to mention the possibility that the model might be flawed.

And what of the several alternative models, such as Banavar's6 and Darveau's?7 An article about the allometric scaling of metabolic rate that discusses only one of the several current models inevitably gives a distorted picture.

In our view (and that of other biologists), not one of...