The Vertebrate Thermostat

The thermoregulatory mechanisms and adaptations we have just discussed are the controlled systems for the regulation of body temperature. These controlled systems must receive commands from a regulatory system that integrates information relevant to the regulation of body temperature. Such a regulatory system can be thought of as a thermostat. All animals that thermoregulate, both vertebrate and invertebrate, must have such a regulatory system, but here we will focus on the vertebrate thermostat.

Where is the vertebrate thermostat? Its major integrative center is at the bottom of the brain in a structure called the hypothalamus. If you slide your tongue back as far as possible along the roof of your mouth, it will be just a few centimeters below your hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a part of many regulatory systems, so we will refer to it again in the chapters to come. If the hypothalamus of a mammal's brain is damaged, the animal loses its ability to regulate its body temperature, which then rises in warm environments and falls in cold ones.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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