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Science & Technology

Will climate change cause humans to shrink ?

November 2, 2013 | Comment icon 16 comments



Are we destined to become smaller ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Guillaume
Scientists have warned that future generations could be a lot shorter than people who are alive today.
The unexpected revelation is based on research in to the size of mammals during previous periods of global warming known as hyperthermals. According to a team of scientist from the University of Michigan, a reduction in size appears to be a common evolutionary response to an increase in global temperatures.

Two examples of such periods were studied, one that occurred 55 million years ago and another that took place 53 million years ago. In both cases there were clear indications that the change in temperature had a profound effect on the size of mammalian species.
"The fact that it happened twice significantly increases our confidence that we're seeing cause and effect - that one interesting response to global warming in the past was a substantial decrease in body size in mammalian species," said study leader Philip Gingerich.

Bizarrely, fossil evidence from horses of the time indicated that they had reduced in size to something comparable to that of a small dog. Over the next few thousand years following the climate's recovery however the animals gradually returned to their normal size.

Source: IB Times | Comments (16)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by progressivegamer44 8 years ago
6 foot master race reporting in, I'm tall, but not too tall. Works for me
Comment icon #8 Posted by ROGER 8 years ago
We call this the " Clothes Dryer " theory . Humans will shrink like cotton socks.
Comment icon #9 Posted by AtlantisRises 8 years ago
6 foot master race reporting in, I'm tall, but not too tall. Works for me I'm ridiculously over tall. But as people shrink I'll be even more tall so I don't mind,
Comment icon #10 Posted by AsylumSpirit 8 years ago
A horse the size of a small dog? THAT WOULD BE AMAZING
Comment icon #11 Posted by spud the mackem 8 years ago
I always get some ruddy Giant in front of me at football matches. What is the average height of todays Males. You are the same height as anyone with a gun in your hand as being small makes you less of a target.
Comment icon #12 Posted by cormac mac airt 8 years ago
I have to wonder how the scientists at the University of Michigan reconcile their claim that mammals were getting smaller due to the two climate change events of 55 and 53 mya respectively, when the oldest primate AFAIK (Archicebus achilles) only dates to c.55 mya and could fit in the palm of ones hand. Also, how did they determine that events from that long ago would impact humans, a genus which didn't even exist prior to c.2.5 mya? http://www.npr.org/2013/06/05/188875000/tiny-ancient-tree-dweller-was-one-of-earths-earliest-primates cormac
Comment icon #13 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
HS stupid theory. LMAO.
Comment icon #14 Posted by regeneratia 8 years ago
What climate change? You mean the cooler summers? Arctic ice melts here and grows there. The antarctic ice grows there and melts here. The North pole is roaming far more than ever before.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Doug1029 8 years ago
HS stupid theory. LMAO. It's just evolution doing its thing. Maybe people will get smaller, but probably not fast enough that we'd notice it. We've got bigger problems to worry about. I'm sure we could agree on a long list, even if global warming isn't on it. Doug
Comment icon #16 Posted by homo.liberis 8 years ago
I tire of these constant disinfo stories. What is it Goebbels said about big lies and repeating them? (sighs)


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