We ended the previous episode with the definition of the WBE theory, which moved the biologists' community. Its name comes from the abbreviation of its creators: West, Brown, and Enquist. Today, the epilogue of a story about the power of the 3/4 principle that manifests itself in so many dimensions of life on Earth.
"WBE uses excessive simplifications" - say Polish scientists and show studies taking into account formulas with different exponents for groups of organisms.
"To notice some fundamental laws, you cannot focus on minor differences, but you have to try to catch what is universal," West, Brown, and Enquist replied to the Poles.
And they maliciously added: "If Galileo were a biologist, he would have compiled a catalog of several volumes describing how bodies of various shapes and sizes fall from the tower, instead of perceiving the universal law of universal gravitation."
Recently, they supplemented their model with a factor dependent exponentially on body temperature (reptiles and mammals of the same size have different metabolic rates). This amendment, they argue, finally brought them closer to the biological theory of everything. "Since we added temperature to our equation, our formula fits all organisms - from sharks to tomato bushes."
Dream team West, Brown, and Enquist believe they can really explain everything. Do you know why women in highly developed countries have few children? The universal WBE formula allows you to predict the reproduction rate depending on the size of the animal's body - the larger the organism, the fewer offspring it has.
As for humans, it requires a slight correction.
From a biological point of view, a person's metabolic rate is 8,400 kilojoules per day or roughly 100 watts. But to this, the authors argue, should be added the non-biological energy consumption of fossil fuels, which ranges from 300 watts in developing countries to 11,000 watts per person in the richest countries. So Japanese or American women consume as much energy as 30-ton mammals need. The biological theory of everything predicts two offspring for such monsters. And please - it agrees to the letter with the demographic data!
The author of the article is Irena Cieślińska, and it was published in "Przekrój Nauki" magazine