from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An organism that generates heat to maintain its body temperature, typically above the temperature of its surroundings; a homeotherm.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a warm-blooded animal that maintains a constant body temperature
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In chem., a compound substance in the formation of which from its constituents energy is absorbed, and in its decomposition energy (usually heat) is evolved.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The term endotherm refers to animals (birds, mammals, some fishes and insects, and even some plants) that are capable of generating sufficient amounts of heat energy to maintain a high core temperature (e.g. 37-40 °C in birds and mammals) by metabolic means – usually derived from aerobic activity of locomotor muscles in animals and by unique biochemical mechanisms in plants (e.g., skunk cabbage).
Whereas an endotherm expends a tremendous amount of energy just to maintain a constant body temperature, a cold ectotherm can pass months at a time requiring little food or oxygen.
I'm not accusing biologists of being endotherm-centric Whiggs, but if the shoe fits ...
Having many functions, feathers, in addition to allowing flight can serve as an insulator (a much needed characteristic to any endotherm), also a cushion to protect the bird's fragile skeleton, its colors can be used for camouflage or even for attracting a mate.
An endotherm has to eat more, relative to a poikilotherm of equivalent body mass, merely to maintain body temp.
These results were corroborated by DSC, since the peptide, apart from decreasing the enthalpy of the main transition of the phospholipid, abolished completely the appearance of the hexagonal phase transition endotherm (