Heat (sexual drive)

In science, heat, referring to sexual drive, as in being “in heat”, is a state of sexual receptiveness in animals, especially in females. [1] In females, heat is a recurrent or singly-occurring state of sexual excitability during which the female of most mammals will accept the male and is capable of conceiving. In this sense, heat is referred to as “estrus”, an 1890 term deriving from the Latin oestrus gadfly, frenzy. [2]

One of the earliest theories on the thermal operation of reproduction was Greek philosopher Aristotle who, in his c. 350BC De Generatione Animalium, postulated that the mode of animal reproduction is determined by a “vital heat” of the animal. The warmer an animal is, Aristotle reasoned, the more perfect will be the state in which its young are generated. [3] Live young are produced by the hotter animals; colder ones produce eggs; the coldest of all, such as insects, produce a larva which in turn produces an egg. [4]

1. Heat (definition) - Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1), based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
2. Estrus (definition) – Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2000, CD-ROM.
3. Mendelsohn, Everett I. (1964). Heat and Life: the Development of the Theory of Animal Heat (pg. 13). Harvard University Press.
4. Aristotle. (c. 350 BC). De Generatione Animalium, 733 a 34-b 17.

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