|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Jennifer, That is a very good question and also a very difficult one to answer. For most organisms, there is a very narrow temperature range in which they can best live, but since humans can easily adapt to a variety of temperatures (for example, by putting on a heavy coat) we can live in a much wider range of temperatures with ease. In general, the ideal temperature for animals to live in would be a temperature where an organism can obtain food, grow and reproduce. This temperature range may not always be the same for these activities. For example, the pupfish can *tolerate* temperatures between 36-111 degrees F, but can only develop or grow between 68-99 degrees and even more striking, can only reproduce between the temperatures of 75-86. So you see how for animals in the wild, ideal temperature is a very complex issue. Were humans to live without the capacity to invent clothing or air conditioning, it probably would be similarly complex. However, humans actually do live in environments where the temperature can be as low as -60 and as high as 110-120. Since humans can adapt to such a range of temperatures, the ideal temperature then becomes in issue of what is most comfortable. That temperature varies from individual to individual but is in the range of 65- 75.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on General Biology.
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