by William Teach | October 18, 2011 10:08 am
It’s terrible, really, really, really terrible. I’m not quite sure why it’s terrible, the story doesn’t say what the problem with species shrinking actually is (unless you plan to eat tiny birds), but, I assume it is somehow terrible and foreboding and means the End Of Life On Earth!
(USA Today) From the mighty polar bear to the tiny house sparrow, many of Earth’s species appear to be shrinking in size, a new study reports – and its authors think that’s probably due to global warming.
But other experts say that conclusion goes too far, blaming global warming for what may be natural changes.
The new research was published online Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. It’s based on a review of other studies and found that 38 of 85 animal and plant species showed a documented reduction in size over decades, including a type of Scottish sheep that is 5 percent smaller than in 1985. Those studies looked at species over different time periods and in varying numbers.
The shrinking victims, according to the study, include cotton, corn, strawberries, bay scallops, shrimp, crayfish, carp, Atlantic salmon, herring, frogs, toads, iguanas, hooded robins, red-billed gulls, California squirrels, lynx and wood rats. (snip)
“There is a trend in a number of organisms across the board from plants to big vertebrates getting smaller,” said study co-author Jennifer Sheridan, a biology researcher at the University of Alabama. “The theory is as things get warmer they don’t need to grow as large.”
Most of these animals are cold-blooded, so the warmer the weather the faster their metabolism is and the more calories they burn, Sheridan said. There’s a biological law, called Bergmann’s rule, that says that as it gets colder, animals get bigger.
This is the unwritten flip side of it, she said.
Well, that’s good to know. Not sure why. Not sure what the problem is. I suppose it means we’re doomed. Or, it could mean someone wants a bit of grant money. Remember how the dinosaurs got really tiny when it CO2 was above 1000ppm and the temperatures were about 5 degrees centigrade higher than today?
Oh, and because someone took an unnecessary fossil fueled boat ride, bugs are shrinking, too
(Washington Post) But now scientists say that global warming could be shrinking ants, beetles, cicadas and other bugs. Not shrinking the overall population of these bugs, but actually shrinking the bugs themselves.
This is bad why, exactly? Do we want them to get bigger?
Scientists say that over time, the smaller plants and animals could lead to food shortages that could effect the human population as well.
Ah. There we go. The scary part. Darn, if only some species would evolve enough in brain power to figure out how to do incredible things like put a man on the moon and create genetically modified foods.
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