Birds Are Shrinking

Photo via flickr by Phonton

Birds are getting smaller as a result of global warming, says Ary Hoffman, Faculty Member and evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne.

Global temperatures have risen an average of 0.6 degrees Celsius in the last century. What effect that may have on the planet’s species is hard to predict, but a recent paper by Hoffman evaluating data from more than 100 different bird species over the past 5 decades found that many of them have shrunk in size.

“The surprise is that you’re seeing these consistent patterns across a large number of species,” explains Hoffman. “Organisms are getting smaller. So it does look like there are these general patterns in size that seem to be related to conditions getting warmer in particular. I think what’s really nice about this study is the number of species that were actually showing the same patterns. Previously people had taken one or two species and shown these kinds of patterns. If you’re trying to establish patterns related to climate change, I think this study does emphasize the fact that you need to look at a large number of species.”

Read more: Shrinking Birds at The Scientist Magazine of Life Sciences.

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