FunWill animals shrink from climate change?

Will animals shrink from climate change?

A new study developed at the University of Florida and Yale University reveals thatglobal warming could cause carnivorous mammal species to “shrink” in the future, as it already happened 55 million years ago.

The research, which will be published in the next issue of the magazineJournal of Mammalian Evolution, states thatan animal similar to the hyena, thePalaeonictis plural, “evolved from the size of a bear to that of a coyoteover a period of 200,000 years, when the Earth’s temperature increased by about 15 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 10 degrees Celsius). ”As the planet cooled again, the animal grew larger again.

Researcher Stephen Chester, co-author of the study, explained that scientists already knew that “herbivorous mammals became smaller during the early Eocene, coinciding with global warming, possibly due to high levels of carbon dioxide.” However, they did not suspect that the same thing happened in some carnivores.

One of thehypothesisWhat is being considered to explain this fact is the change in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could have caused areduction of plant nutrients, which caused herbivorous mammals to “shrink”. In any case, the newly described species mainly consumed meat and therefore “nutrients could not have been the only factor,” he concluded.

As Jonathan Bloch, curator of fossils at the Florida Museum of Natural History, has explained, “documenting the effects of climate change in the past is one of the only experiments that can warn about the effects that future global warming could have on mammals. “.

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