Changes were seen so far in the warm-blooded animal species, which grew larger beaks, longer legs, and larger ears to withstand a warmer climate. It appears in a new study.
Australian ornithologist Sarah Riding of Deakin University describes these changes in a research report (Shape change: changing animal shapes in response to global warming) It was written by Riding and colleagues Marcel Claassen, Glenn J. Tattersall, Janet L. Gardner and Matthew Ray Symonds.
in the magazine Trends in ecology and evolution Sarah Riding writes about the study’s main findings.
He must adapt or die
When climate change is mentioned in the media, people ask themselves “How should we adapt?” , or “What kind of technology can solve this?” But it’s time we realized that wildlife must also adapt to these changes. We’re seeing that wildlife is changing faster now than it was earlier in evolution, Riding tells the website.
The climate changes we have brought about have put wildlife under great pressure, and some species will be able to adapt. Others do not.
She adds that climate change is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that has evolved over time, so it is difficult to point to a single reason why animals have changed shape. At the same time, these changes have been detected in wide geographic areas and in many different animal species, which have little in common other than climate change.
Among the particularly different bird species, drastic changes in appearance have been observed so far, for example many Australian parrots have larger beaks. Measurements show that the size of their beaks has increased by an average of 4 to 10 percent since 1871, which coincides with summer temperatures year after year.
In North America, the Winter Scrap, a small songbird, grew larger beaks after several periods of extreme temperatures. The researchers also recorded that young forest mice have longer tails and that the masked shrew, an animal of the shrew family, has longer legs.
The increase in limb size is so small so far, less than 10 percent, so it’s hardly noticeable, Riding says.
But other noticeable parts of the body are also expected to grow. Like ear size. So we might end up seeing live Dumbo-like animals in the near future, you think.
fighting for life
The researcher now plans to conduct a 3D survey of birds in museums from 100 years ago, to learn more about the birds that have changed their appearance due to climate change, and why.
She also asserts that animals’ ability to change shape to deal with climate change does not mean “all is well”.
– It just means that they evolve to try to survive. But we don’t know what other environmental consequences of climate change are, or whether all animals can change enough, fast enough, to survive.
Study through the Australian Research Council Discovery Project, a future Australian Research Council fellowship, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant.
The case was first mentioned in science daily.
Worst for the professionals
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF, nearly half of the mammals on the official International Red List of Threatened Species are already negatively affected by climate change.
The same goes for a quarter of the birds. Most vulnerable to climate change are species that specialize in surviving under very specific conditions. Researchers warn that it can get worse over time. A great study shows it Climate change could make half of all species disappear (pdf) from natural areas of particular value such as the Amazon, the Galapagos, Madagascar and the Mediterranean.
On the Norwegian Red List of Threatened Species 87 species listed as threatened by climate change.
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