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Life with low body temperatures

  1. Could there be complex life somewhere in the universe with body temperatures averaging 80 degrees F? Im curious if life of some kind could survive a body temperature that low and function normally.
  2. jcsd
  3. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    You mean like reptiles and fish?
  4. I mean creatures that have internal body temperatures of 80 degrees. Like we Humans have a constant temperature of 98 degrees and im wondering if there can be any creature that can have a internal constant body temperature of 80 degrees F without influence from the outside?
  5. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    As Evo pointed out there are examples of organisms that naturally have much colder core body temperatures so the answer to your question is essentially yes. Such organisms are going to be slow moving/unenergetic though.
  6. From what ive seen lots of reptiles and fish move fast. You say they must move slow with a lower body temperature but if their chemistry or design is different they could be more energetic. Correct?
  7. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Ever seen a cold blooded animal when the environment is cold, like at night? They're quite sluggish compared to how they are in the day when the sun boosts their core body temp. To be more energetic all the time you need to have a higher core body temp so either you hang out in a warm environment constantly or you regulate your body temperature to a higher temp. Reason being that chemical reactions, especially enzymatic reactions, have optimum temperatures ranging around mid-high 30C.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  8. Yes but could there be enzymes that react and function better in colder conditions?
    Life evolved to fit in its environment on Earth. So say on another world evolution made life thrive more with lower core body temperatures. This could happen on a colder world. Right?
  9. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    The reason enzymes don't work properly under colder conditions is a lot to do with their, and their substrate's, diffusion which will be higher at higher temperatures and thus increase the likelihood of the two colliding. In general a lower temperature means lower reaction rates in chemical reactions because of this. In addition there is the problem that at lower temperatures chemicals will not interact with enough energy to react (this is called activation energy).

    So the answer is no as far as I can see, it isn't possible for a low temperature organism to evolve that is as energetic as an analogous high temperature organism.
  10. Ok but I have one other question that came to mind. Can an organism have its own natural pressure suit. Where im getting at is on Mars if a simple organism evolved into a lightly more complex organism how would it deal with its body being at or slightly higher than the triple point of water? Would this organism have its own natural pressure suit of sorts to deal with the lower pressure assuming it can deal with the radiation?

    This might seem like a weird question.
  11. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    I guess. IIRC the reason tissue pulls apart when lacerated is due to the natural constricting effect of extra cellular matrix proteins. I can't see anything obviously unlikely with an organism with ECM that pulls tight enough to significantly increase internal body pressure.
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