Every creature on Earth has the capacity to adapt to the changes nature brings upon them. A new study proves the validity of such a feature. Researchers have looked in the past to see how mammals evolved. Moreover, they projected the collected data into the future as well. Thus, according to their scenario based on facts, climate change could create new generations of smaller mammals, including smaller humans.
The Eocene Period Created Generations of Smaller Mammals
About 54 million years ago, the atmosphere on Earth became extremely hot. In order to sustain their surviving chances, at least three different species of warm-blooded animals went through a major transformation of their proportions. Thus, they got smaller. For instance, one of them was a type of horse that shed an average of 2.4 pounds to 14.6 pounds.
The study appeared on Wednesday in journal Science Advances. Scientists believe that as global warming continues to intensify, so will the world end up having smaller mammals. The co-author of the study, Professor Phillip Gingerich of the University of Michigan stated that humans would be affected by this phenomenon as well. If temperatures reach hyperthermal levels similar to the Eocene period, people will go through a shrinkage process.
Humans Could Skip this Evolutionary Change
On the other hand, humans represent an advanced species capable of shaping the surrounding environment to their own necessity. This is the opinion of the lead author of the study, Abigail Carroll, that doesn’t see a future of smaller persons. Technology, inventions, and creations helped us to escape cruel natural conditions, and the same artificial conditions can save people once again from such physical changes. Thus, while animals will experience dwarfism, humans can control the environment and skip this evolutionary alteration.
The authors of the study might hold answers for the cause of such an extreme evolution. One of them concerns the lack of enough food as a side effect of global warming. As drought is a natural effect of climate change, the lack of water would mean the end of many plants and animals. With fewer sources of food left, animals will have to adapt to an implacable and more hostile environment by shrinking. Smaller body size means a smaller need for calories and thus restricted need for prey.
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