Changes have been seen so far in warm-blooded animal species that have developed large cranes, long legs and large ears to withstand warmer climates. This is revealed in a new study.
Sarah Riding, an Australian ornithologist at Deakin University, describes these changes in a research report (Shape change: Climate change changes the morphology of animals in response to global warming) Riding and his colleagues Marcel Klaassen, Glenn J. Written by Tattersall, Janet L. Gardner and Matthew RE Symonds.
In the magazine Trends in ecology and evolution Sarah Riding writes about the key findings of the study.
Must be modified, or die
When climate change is mentioned in the media, people ask themselves, “How do we adapt?” Or “What technology can solve this?” He tells the Riding website that we are now seeing wildlife changing faster than ever before in evolution.
The climate change we have created has put a lot of pressure on wildlife, and some species will adapt. Others do not.
He argues that climate change is a complex and diverse phenomenon that has evolved over time, and therefore it is difficult to pinpoint a reason for the change in the shape of animals. At the same time, these changes have been found in large geographical areas and in a wide variety of animal species, which are no different than climate change.
There have been drastic changes in appearance so far, especially between different bird species, for example Australian parrot birds have acquired several large cranes. Measurements show that the size of their cranes has increased by an average of 4 to 10 percent since 1871, which corresponds to an annual summer temperature.
In North America, winter litter, a small songbird, has grown into large cranes after several warm seasons. Researchers have reported that small wild rats have long tails and that the masked shrew, an animal in the shrew family, has long legs.
– Riding says the increase in the size of the limbs is by far the smallest, less than 10 per cent, so they are rarely noticed.
– But other, significant body parts are also expected to grow. Such as ear size. So he hopes that in the future we will see animals like “Tambo” in person.
Fighting for life
The researcher now plans 3D-scan birds in museums that existed 100 years ago to learn more about which birds are changing appearance due to climate change.
He emphasizes that the ability to change the shape of animals to cope with climate change does not mean “everything is fine”.
– means that they develop in an attempt to survive. But we do not know what other environmental effects climate change will have, or whether it will change fast enough to sustain all animals.
Studien er støttet av the Australian Research Council Discovery Project, and the Future Fellowship of the Australian Research Council, and the Engineering Research Council of the Natural Science and Canada Discovery Grant.
This case was first mentioned Science Daily.
Worse for experts
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the WWF says nearly half of the mammals on the official International Red List of Endangered Species have already been adversely affected by climate change.
The same goes for a quarter of the birds. Species that are highly susceptible to climate change specialize in surviving under very specific conditions. Researchers warn that this could get worse over time. A great study shows it Climate change may make half of all living things extinct (pdf) Especially valuable natural areas are the Amazon, the Galapagos, Madagascar and the Mediterranean.
Norwegian Red List of Endangered Species 87 species are listed as threatened by climate change.