Why Animals Are Getting Smaller and Smaller
Generations of animals today are gradually getting smaller right in front of our eyes, and we don’t even notice it. Mammals such as the Canadian lynx, the polar bear, and even some birds are shrinking in size, and it’s predicted that the shrinking will go on for at least another decade. Global warming is to blame for this, and humans play a role in it.
Bright Side wants to inform you about this worrying event that’s been going on for a long time because animals play a vital part in our life and nature.
Changes in temperatures are a reason why some animals are shrinking.
According to Abigail D’Ambrosia, a doctoral student at the University of New Hampshire and lead author of the study, the planet experienced the so-called “hyperthermals” many years ago. That’s when the temperatures rose by around 9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit; and because of that, some animals shrank by 30% over time. In her study, researchers confirmed her theory and findings that global warming caused the shrinking of animals because smaller bodies cool down faster.
Mountain wagtails are among the birds getting smaller and smaller.
A research study from the University of Cape Town has collected evidence that shows that the changing climate has shrunken animals’ body size over a 23-year period (between 1976 and 1999). The research was focused on mountain wagtails, and it showed that, based on the 32°F increase of temperature in their habitat, the birds living there had become lighter. They were getting smaller because of evolutionary pressure.
Polar bears have also shown significant shrinking.
Another mammal that is shrinking in size is the polar bear, according to a study conducted by Professor Cino Pertoldi of Aarhus University. He and his colleagues examined 282 polar bear skulls collected during two periods of time, and they discovered that the skulls were smaller in the latter of the time periods. According to him, higher pollution levels, ice melting, and the increased effort it takes for polar bears to hunt are the culprits of the change in the mammals’ size.
Other familiar animals have shrunk in size right under our noses.
- A study was conducted on 500 Canadian lynx skulls, and the results confirmed that the mammal’s size has shrunk over the past 50 years, which could result from less food or warmer conditions.
- The Soay sheep in Scotland are also suffering the consequences of global warming, and they have also gotten smaller, according to this study.
- Monarch butterflies are also shrinking. According to this study, food deprivation as larvae can lead to shorter wings.
These studies and their results support the idea that shrinking body size is a response to climate change and human interference. Not only that, but according to this study published in Nature, animals will shrink by 25% over the course of this decade.
What other animals do you think will start shrinking in size? Share your thoughts with the rest of us.