Is global warming causing goats to shrink? That’s what researchers from the UK’s Durham University are claiming. Smaller goats are evidence that global warming is impacting animal size, say researchers.
Durham researchers studied the body size of Alpine Chamois mountain goats over three decades and found that young Chamois today weigh 25 percent less than their peers did in the 1980s. Reseachers linked shrinking body sizes to increasing temperatures.
“Body size declines attributed to climate change are widespread in the animal kingdom, with many fish, bird and mammal species getting smaller,” said lead researcher Dr. Tom Mason,of Durham University. “However the decreases we observe here are astonishing. The impacts on Chamois weight could pose real problems for the survival of these populations.”
Increasingly, scientists have been trying to link shrinking animal body sizes to global warming which is allegedly reducing the availability and nutrition content of their food sources, reports Phys.org.
The Durham study, however, did not find evidence that Chamois food sources were the cause of shrinkage, instead researchers say it’s because of rising temperatures. Warm-looded animals will shed weight as the climate heats up because they no longer need to stay as warm, according to CityLab.com. The future impacts global warming will have on Chamois are unclear.
“We know that Chamois cope with hot periods by resting more and spending less time searching for food, and this may be restricting their size more than the quality of the vegetation they eat,” said co-researcher Dr Stephen Willis. “If climate change results in similar behavioral and body mass changes in domestic livestock, this could have impacts on agricultural productivity in coming decades.”
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