On Growth, Form, and Function—A Fantasia on the Design of a Mammal

[+] Author and Article Information
A. S. Iberall

General Technical Services, Inc., Upper Darby, Pa.

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 95(3), 291-295 (Sep 01, 1973) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3426717 History: Received June 29, 1973; Online July 13, 2010


The development of a system’s biology, as a common construct for both physiologist and engineer, requires both a theory of structures (form) and a theory of dynamics (function). A dynamic organizing principle—“homeokinesis”—for the living system was proposed earlier. Based on thermodynamic reasoning, homeokinesis attempts to capture the physical essence of homeostasis. Now, a primitive foundation is proposed from which a large family of design characteristics might emerge, by self-organization, in complex biological organisms. This foundation is directed at the emergence of major form parameters of the entire class of mammalia, from 3 gm adult shrews to 100,000 kg whales.

Copyright © 1973 by ASME
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