According to a recent study carried out at the University of New Hampshire, global warming could cause horses and other mammals to shrink in size and volume.
According to researcher Abigail D'Ambrosia, fossil records show that during two periods of natural warming in the earth's history, in which the carbon dioxide levels and temperatures both increased significantly. D'Ambrosia says that man-made global warming could have the same effect.
“It's something we need to keep an eye out for,” she was reported as saying in The Mercury News. “The question is how fast are we going to see these changes.”
The study, which was published in the journal Science Advances, says that according to fossilized teeth, scientists have concluded that 54 million years ago there were three species, including one of the earliest ancestors to the modern-day horse, which shrank significantly 54 million years ago when the earth went through a documented warming period. The early horse, which was predicted to have weighed only 17 pounds, shrank to just 14.6 pounds – a change of 14 percent – over time.
Another animal that showed a decrease in body size was the earliest known primate, who is reported to have undergone a 4 percent decrease in size during the same period.
Other studies have come to similar conclusions regarding the decrease in body size of animals during periods of warming. Farmers have also long been aware that cows naturally produce less milk during hotter periods of time.
Read more at The Mercury News.
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