Mini Mammals: Ancient Warming Pared Body Size, Study Suggests

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.

November 5, 2013 6:29 pm

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