Water heat capacity has the following plot:

enter image description here

One can see it has minimum near 40 degrees of Celsius, i.e. close to human body and other warm blooded animals have.

Is this just coincidence?


One idea about how it can be not a coincidence is thinking about thermoregulation. May be any thermoregulating system has optimum if tries to keep temperature at heat capacity minimum?

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it is just a coincidence. There is no physics or biophysics reason why the specific heat capacity minimum makes any difference at all. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Oct 21 '16 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ Also look at the vertical scale. For all practical intents and purposes, the heat capacity is constant over the whole range. The maximum relative change is barely 0.5%! $\endgroup$ – polwel Oct 21 '16 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ This is really strange. My humble knowledge on biology states that the remarkably high specific heat of water is critical for keeping our body temperatures constant unaffected by outer changes, so that various metabolic reactions can take place at their optimal temperature 37°C. $\endgroup$ – Tofi Oct 22 '16 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Since $\bf40^\circ\rm C$ constitutes mortal fever, I highly doubt that there could be a connection. $\endgroup$ – Lucian Mar 23 '18 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ If we assume that many of the biological systems have evolved to be "good enough", rather than having been designed for optimal performance, then the fact that the heat capacity is near minimum for evolved optimal biological processes in humans (say ~37 degrees) might have quite some relevance. Another way to ask this could be: why is healthy human's internal temperature regulated to be around 37C? $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Sep 30 '18 at 7:08

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