Endothermy is a phenomenon among certain living species that allows one to regulate its body temperature. Ectothermy depends on external sources of heat to regulate the body temperature. Endotherms can acclimatize. Ectotherms cannot. Humans or Homo sapiens are endotherms. As with most biological realities, there are some endothermy pros and cons.
List of Pros of Endothermy
Excluding a few extreme places on earth, endotherms can usually survive in any condition. As you know, there are humans in every nook and corner of the world. We have even explored the poles and have bases there. Humans do take refuge in technology, ala artificial heating or cooling, but even in the absence of that we have survived in tropical, temperate and frigid zones. Endotherms can endure sudden spikes in temperature and dips in mercury. All humans can easily endure temperatures from just under the freezing point to more than half way to the boiling point. Extremes beneath the freezing point and inching closer to the boiling point will become unbearable. With ectotherms, the range is not even a fraction of that. As a result, endotherms can acclimatize much better.
2. Survival and Activity
Endotherms don’t have to rely on external sources of heat to be active so it can keep working regardless of the sun coming up and whether or not it is nighttime. Endotherms don’t need to hibernate or stay burrowed using heat of the earth’s crust through winters. In effect, endothermy facilitates survival, even in some of the harshest conditions. It also facilitates activity.
3. Stronger and Adaptable
Endothermy allows the body to make changes whenever necessary. Fluctuating blood pressure, increased and decreased respiration given the needs and the varying amount of heat generated by the body depending on the scenario and the food consumed, activity undertaken or due to other external factors make endotherms stronger and more adaptable.
List of Cons of Endothermy
1. Dependence on Food
Endothermy is heavily dependent on the food intake. Without food, the body will not be able to generate enough heat and certainly wouldn’t sustain the natural temperature. In other words, endothermy needs regular consumption of food. Endotherms cannot survive for very long without food. Ectotherms can survive longer. However, that is in theory because large endotherms like mammals will have enough energy stored in the body to last months or weeks.
2. Limited Growth
Endothermy limits the food used for growth. Since a substantial portion of the food consumed is used to maintain the temperature, there is less of it for other purposes.