Question I am trying to answer:

In the popular film The Matrix, heat given off by humans is harvested as an energy source. I wondered, if this were possible, would humans be a good organism to choose? Would any other organism be better?

Question I want to ask:

Many warm-blooded organisms produce heat by metabolism. Do different organisms produce different levels of heat for the same mass of input (food)? Is there any organism that directs energy flux into heat production more than any other organism?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it not focusing on a biological aspect. SciFi-SE may be a better site for this question. $\endgroup$
    Jul 31, 2014 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ I've made some changes and think it's both interesting and (now) on-topic! $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2014 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Although, one extant issue would be heat varies enormously depending on what the organism is doing: hibernation, vigorous activity, using its body heat to melt snow (skunk cabbage), etc. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2014 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ Matrix doesn't work either way because even rats need to be fed. If there's no sunlight, there's no autotrophic assimilation and thus no food for any warm-blooded organism. Still a nice movie. $\endgroup$
    – ChrKoenig
    Aug 1, 2014 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


A small hardy warm blooded omnivore that is easily tamed. I suggest rats.

Small: You don't want a lot of metabolic effort going into building bone and structure to support structure. Hardy: it needs to be survivable with little care. Warm blooded: You want to harvest energy from it. Easily tamed: The animal shouldn't try to escape its captivity.

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    $\begingroup$ Warm blooded, good point. I was thinking it'd be some kind of bacteria. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Jul 31, 2014 at 3:18

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