Technology September 28, 2011
Global Warming May Cause Cold-Blooded Animals to Shrink

You ever get that shrinking feeling? A new study from British researchers at the University of London has found that global warming may cause many species of cold-blooded animal to become smaller in the coming years. Most cold-blooded creatures are affected by the "temperature-size" rule, which states that in a warmer environment, a cold-blooded animal will grow to a smaller size.

The scientists studied 40 years worth of data to prove that warmer climates lead to smaller animals. According to their research, when the environment heats up, an animal's growth becomes more sensitive to temperature than to regular development, meaning that it will pass through the life stages faster, and be fully developed earlier. Basically, animals won't have time to grow big.

The main focus of the research is the marine planktonic copepod - no one's ideal pet, as far as we know. But if the scientists are correct, the case of the shrinking copepod could have major consequences for the world's oceans: copepods are food for marine animals from fish to whales, so if they get smaller it could change the whole underwater ecosystem.



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