So far, a lot has been said and written about the growing effect of global warming. Some scientists even declared that if global warming keeps on increasing at this alarming rate then by 2050, there won’t be any Earth to live in. Recent studies on the effect of global warming confirm that global warming can cause dwarfing of mammals.
We all know, how eco-system has evolved and how different species have adapted different symptoms to conserve their livelihood. Recent studies by environment scientists have unveiled a new side of adoption; mammals might start dwarfing off their body height to accustom themselves with global warming.
According to the studies conducted so far, long ago when Dinosaurs got extinct around billions of years ago, the temperature of Earth started to increase. In a period of about million years, the Earth’s temperature begun to rise in 5 to 8-degree Celsius for every 10,000 years. Various changes I carbon cycle was noticed during this period. Scientists termed this time as “The Hyperthermal event”.
Researchers later found out that the hyperthermal events were the cause of mammal dwarfing during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, 56 million years ago, and during the Eocene Thermal Maximum 2, 53 million years ago.
Recently researchers followed a series of four taxonomic groups and found out that two of them were affected by mammal dwarfing, watching a significant shrinking in equids, like horses. Equids decreased in size 30 percent during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.
The studies that were found in the research are the immediate results of analysing fossilised teeth and jaw fragments from animals that existed in the Paleocene and its evolution during the Eocene. In this group of animals, scientists examined the Arenahippus per Nix, an ancestor of our modern horses, and the Diacodexis meniscus, an ancestor of pigs and deer.
Researchers were looking for evidence of dwarfing on the Eocene Thermal Maximum. Hence they compared this data with information from the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, finding that the mammal dwarfing was a constant in both periods.
Professor Philip Gingerich, a professor from the University of Michigan and co-author of the study, said, “I would expect humans could shrink in size if we go through another hyperthermal like those in the early Eocene. But we might be high enough in the food chain that we would be buffered,”
The researchers added that the whole idea behind shrinking one’s body is that smaller sized organisations get cooled off easily when compared to larger institutions. People who are petite has lesser body heat than individuals who are tall. Mammals use this technique to survive and get accustomed with the changing nature.
However, the researchers also added that not only global warming, eyeing the evidence from past, mammals can also start shrinking their body due to a scarcity of water and other environmental changes.