Symmorphosis in the proximal pathway for oxygen in the leaf-eared mouse Phyllotis darwini
In this report, we explore the matching of structures to functional needs by comparing previously reported data of maximal oxygen consumption and the development of the lung in the leaf-eared mouse Phyllotis darwini in warm and cold environments. We discuss whether the state of structural design is commensurate with functional needs from regulated morphogenesis as predicted by the hypothesis of symmorphosis. We found a close match between respiratory structures and functional needs during postnatal development, expressed as safety factors close to unity. However, in the adult stage the safety factors were greater than two, which suggests that adult animals acquired a structure greater than that required considering their maximum capacities. A high safety factor in the respiratory system of adult mice may be a consequence of the symmorphosis that operates during ontogeny and does not necessarily support a rejection of this hypothesis.