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Mini Mammals: Ancient Warming Pared Body Size, Study Suggests

General November 5, 2013

With this new finding, there are two known instances of rising temperatures linked to decreasing body sizes, suggesting that rather than a fluke this phenomenon may be a general rule for mammals, the researchers said. “There might be a relationship between the size of a hypothermal event and the extent of mammalian dwarfism,” said Abigail D’Ambrosia, an earth sciences doctoral candidate at the University of New Hampshire, who presented her findings Nov. 1 at the 73rd annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting. Last year, researchers reported in the journal Science that during a slightly earlier, bigger global warming event, mammals decreased in size by about 30 percent. But it wasn’t clear whether this tie between warming and shrinking mammals was a trend.

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