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I'm a math teacher looking for data to help my students interested in biology complete a quantitatively flavored study of animals. (As a math person, I apologize if I'm not using discipline-appropriate vocabulary in my request here.)

I'd like to find a publicly available database that lists different animal species along with their average measurements of various biological variables (body mass, heart rate, body temperature, length, lung capacity, etc.). Can anyone point me to something?

I'm interested in having my students study the relationship between pairs of variables (i.e. body mass and heart rate), to model this relationship via an appropriate function, and to use their function to make predictions. To hone their models, students will need access to known data about these variables for a number of different animals. I could have them look up all of this data in separate places on the internet, but I'm hoping to find one location that has all (or most) of it.

Thanks in advance.

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You might be interested in the PanTHERIA database for several thousand mammalian species. It has up to 53 characteristics for each species (but many fields have no entry). It is available as two plain text files, each with one line per species (plus header line) and fields separated by tabs. The files and data descriptions are available at http://esapubs.org/archive/ecol/E090/184/

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I'm not positive, but I assume you'll be hard-pressed to find a list that checks your boxes of needing both multiple metrics for multiple animals.

However...

Two sources that seem to prove me wrong:

  1. Thayer Watkins's webpage (San José State Univ.) found here, which includes:

    • Blood pressure, height of head above heart, weight, avg heart rate, longevity, and life-span

    for:

    • Humans, cats, dogs of various sizes, hamsters, chickens, monkeys, horses, cows, pigs, rabbits, elephants, giraffes, and whales. (also goats, turkeys, frogs and snakes -- not all metrics are represented for all organisms).
  2. "Normal Physiological Values for Select Animals" from Texas A&M found here, which includes:

    • temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate

    for:

    • Cows, goats, horses, pigs, sheeps, rabbits, dogs, and cats.

Neither of these sources is quite consistent or complete (and I'm not sure of their credibility other than being on academic websites), but they should give you a start.

  • Also, if you don't know, you can add "site:.edu" to the end of any google search to narrow searches (e.g., heart rates of animals, average body temperature of animals, etc.) for similar lists.
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Does it have to be those physical criteria that you mention, or are you just interested in datasets that include a lot of quantitative data about animals?

Because if you're interested in other quantitative data, then you may be interested in the dataset included here. This is a dataset that consists of various life-history variables of many species. Some of the variables included are, among other, the following: age of maturity, litter size, adult body mass, gestation length, weaning age, birth weight, and much more.

Here is a description (abstract):

Studying life-history traits within and across taxonomic classifications has revealed many interesting and important patterns, but this approach to life history requires access to large compilations of data containing many different life-history parameters. Currently, life-history data for amniotes (birds, mammals, and reptiles) is split among a variety of publicly available databases, data tables embedded in individual papers and books, and species-specific studies by experts. Using data from this wide range of sources is a challenge for conducting macroecological studies because of a lack of standardization in taxonomic classifications, parameter values, and even in which parameters are reported. In order to facilitate comparative analyses between amniote life-history data, we created a database compiled from peer-reviewed studies on individual species, macroecological studies of multiple species, existing life-history databases, and other aggregated sources as well as published books and other compilations. First, we extracted and aggregated the raw data from the aforementioned sources. Next, we resolved spelling errors and other formatting inconsistencies in species names through a number of computational and manual methods. Once this was completed, subspecies-level data and species-level data were shared via a data-sharing algorithm to accommodate the variety of species transformations (taxonomic promotions, demotions, merges, divergences, etc.) that have occurred over time. Finally, in species where multiple raw data points were identified for a given parameter, we report the median value. Here, we report a normalized and consolidated database of up to 29 life-history parameters, containing at least one life-history parameter for 21 322 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles.

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