Climate Change Causes Animals to Change Shape

Jakarta

A study found, when The earth is getting hotter, many warm-blooded creatures have evolved larger beaks, ears, and feet to allow them to better regulate their body temperature.

The study suggests that appendages such as bird beaks and mammalian ears can be used to dissipate excessive body heat, with sizes tending to be larger in warmer climates.

Experts led by researchers from Australia’s Deakin University reviewed previous research on various species which changes shape. From this study, it is likely that climate change is the cause.

Quoted from Daily Mail, Sunday (12/9/2021) they found evidence of changes in the average size of certain animal parts of up to 10%. This figure is expected to continue to grow as the temperature of our planet warms.

“Often when discussing climate change, people ask ‘can humans solve this?’, or ‘what technology can solve this?’,” comments paper author and ecologist Sara Ryding of Deakin University.

“It’s about time we realized that animal must also adapt to these changes. But this happened on a much shorter timescale than would have happened through most of the evolutionary time. The climate change we have created puts a lot of pressure on them. Some species will adapt, others will not.”

In their study, Ryding and colleagues reviewed studies of the shape changes seen in a variety of species, from Australian parrots to Chinese bats to common pigs and rabbits. They are looking for evidence that climate change is driving these changes.

The research team noted that shifts occurred across species from diverse geographic areas, making it difficult to identify common potential causes beyond climate change.

But at the same time, the multifaceted and progressive nature of climate change impacts also makes it difficult to pinpoint just one specific trigger that causes shape change.

Birds have changed significantly

An example of very strong deformity is seen in birds. Australian parrot species, for example, have shown an average increase in beak size of about 4-10% since 1871. This growth is positively correlated with changes in the average summer temperature each year.

In addition, dark-eyed juncos, a type of small sparrow found in North America, have a larger beak size associated with short-term temperature extremes in their normally cold habitat.

“The size increase we’ve seen so far is quite small, less than 10%, so the change may not be immediately noticeable,” Ryding said.

However, Ryding added, prominent changes such as dilated ears, are expected to increase. It is not impossible that in the future we will see animal like the elephant character in the Dumbo cartoon directly.

“This shape change doesn’t mean animals are ‘well’ in the face of climate change. It just means they evolved to survive. But we’re not sure what the other ecological consequences of this change will be either,” concluded Ryding.

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