Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On Being an Exctotherm (and an Ant)

Introduction:

Quote from Brandon on May 19th: "I'm dating a reptile."

Quote from Brandon on May 21st: "I've never dated so many animals at once."

Explanation:

I am...frequently cold. Or rather, I have a very specific body/environment temperature that I attempt to regulate in order to be comfortable. Most of the time, this means I'm cold. Occasionally, I'm hot. I vastly prefer being cold to being hot. As a result, I constantly employ the use of blankets/sweaters/coats and frequently the use of heaters (I live in a basement and my workplace reflects a similar air temperature to that of Siberia). And with the addition of such amenities to my life, I carry on quite happily. (The most recent addition to my wardrobe - a pair of thick sweatpants - has made such a difference in my warmth level at home! I wear them pretty much constantly when I'm at home...and I maybe take them over to Brandon's when I know we're going to be lounging....)

On the 19th, we'd just finished hiking down to Supai and we were taking a break after checking in. We'd only been sitting/standing there for a few minutes but the sweat on my back had quickly began to cool and my general body temperature (or at least the body temperature that I'm aware of) quickly dropped along with it. Here we were, freshly off from a several hour hike on a nice sunny day and I had goosebumps. Ridiculous. That's when Brandon said, "I'm dating a reptile," with a grin on his face. Zach made a similar comment to the same effect not five minutes later.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up reptiles and then cold-blooded on Wikipedia and was somewhat shocked at how good of a description "ectotherm" is for me:

"An organism in which internal physiological sources of heat are of relatively small or quite negligible importance in controlling body temperatureSuch organisms rely on environmental heat sources. Many species habitually seek out external sources of heat or shelter from heat; for example, many reptiles regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun, or seeking shade when necessary in addition to a whole host of other behavioral thermoregulation mechanisms."


Me, in a nutshell. ;)

The second quote came as we were ascending the first string of hills out of the camp, just past Havasu Falls. Brandon has often compared me to a long line of animals - including but not limited to cat, dog, reptile, and dragon. Added to this list on the 21st was almost "pack animal" but quickly shifted to "ant," as that seemed to fit the proportions of me to my pack a little better than the first guess.


And there you have it. It will be fun to see what other animals are added to the list as time goes by. :)


And here are some dried flowers - because they're pretty. :)



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