Animals Shrink with Climate Change

According to a recently released study, a tremendous increase in carbon over 50 million years ago caused the planet to warm by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result of the temperature rise, some animals survived by shrinking in size, sometimes by as much as 50 percent. About a third of the existing mammals at the time reacted to the hotter temperatures by shrinking.

Researchers say during the hotter period there were horses the size of pet cats. Other species such as beetles, bees, spiders, algae, gophers, woodrats and some birds were also smaller. That such animal shrinkage happened on a large scale all those millions of years ago points to the potential for it to happen again, as the planet once again undergoes an increase in surface temperatures.

“This has implications, potentially, for what we might expect to see over the next century or two, at least with some of the climate models that are predicting that we will see warming of as much as four degrees centigrade over the next 100 years,” said researcher Ross Secord of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (Source: Calgary Herald)

One explanation for animal shrinkage during hotter periods, is the increase in metabolic rate for cold-blooded animals which means they either have to consume more food or shrink in size. Warm-blooded animals do well in colder climates because a larger body size helps conserve energy, but in warmer temperatures they can experience size reductions. It has already been documented some polar bears are shrinking.

The current climate change situation is happening much faster than the temperature increase over 50 million years ago, which could cause extinctions because the animals don’t have enough time to adapt.

Image Credit: arjecahn

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Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad4 years ago

OH PLEASE!!! Can you say Shetland pony!

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

Everything on Planet Earth is affected

rene davis
irene davis5 years ago

hopefully humans would shrink so to become subordinate to the rest of animal kingdom!

Aud Nordby
Aud n5 years ago


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

The article said it would take 100 - 200 years to see the shrinkage in animals. I'm glad I won't be here. I like the size they are now.

Jay Williamson
Jay w5 years ago

i wish i could shrink my body mass lol

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege5 years ago

It's not the first time I've heard that.

Manuela B.
Manuela B5 years ago

i don't think so....

Pinke A.
Pinke A6 years ago

Somehow this doesn't feel right! So we humans are just getting taller??-while the animals are shrinking??

Ainsley Chalmers
Ainsley Chalmers6 years ago

There is absolutely no evidence for the claims/ comments you are making. therefore how are we able to assess the veracity of the climbs made. please bring some real science into these comments.