The Science of Hobbit Gluttony

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Because smaller animals have to eat more relative to their bodyweight, Tolkein’s hobbits need to eat a lot – not for comfort, but for survival.

To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Metabolism: The chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.
Square-cube Law: A mathematical principle which describes the relationship between the volume and the surface area as a shape’s size increases or decreases.
Kleiber’s Law: The observation that, for the vast majority of animals, an animal’s metabolic rate scales to the 3⁄4 power of the animal’s mass.
Calorie: Unit of energy. One food calorie equals 1 kilocalorie.

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Kleiber, M. (1947). BODY SIZE AND METABOLIC RATE. Physiological Reviews, 27(4), 511–541. Retrieved from:

Dawson, N. (1967). The Surface-Area/Body-Weight Relationship in Mice. Australian Journal of Biological Sciences, 20(3), 687. Retrieved from:

How Much Does an Elephant Weigh? (2019, September 26). Retrieved from:

Thommen, Albert, et al. “Body Size-Dependent Energy Storage Causes Kleiber’s Law Scaling of the Metabolic Rate in Planarians.” (2019) ELife, eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd, 4 Jan. 2019. Retrieved from:

West, G. B., Brown, J. H., & Enquist, B. J. (1997). A General Model for the Origin of Allometric Scaling Laws in Biology. Science, 276(5309), 122–126. Retrieved from:

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