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Study finds evolution doesn't always favor bigger animals

ter understanding of the evolution of body size in fossil organisms as well as in environments that are now being impacted by global warming.

"There's still a huge debate over what drives Cope's Rule, but our study shows that climate change can undoubtedly play an important role" said Roy.

For much of the past 40 million years, global climate has been exhibiting a steady cooling trend. But within the last century, as greenhouse emissions have accumulated in our atmosphere, temperatures have rapidly warmed.

"If you look at most of life today, they've all been adapted to a world getting gradually cooler," said Roy. "But our future is destined to be significantly warmer. What are animals going to look like when everything must adapt to a warmer world? Size correlates with many aspects of the biology of an animal so changes in size are likely to translate into substantial ecological changes. A better prediction of the biological effects of future global change requires that, among other things, we understand how climate change shapes body size evolution."


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Source:University of California - San Diego


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