Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘global warming’

Adapting (or not) to increasing temperatures

Birds are not the only animals experiencing massive declines in populations. Rising temperatures and heat waves, in particular, have been blamed for killing humans and animals. In fact, a new review article published in Physiology mentioned that globally, heat is “a significant natural killer of humans, with the first decade of the 21st Century seeing a 23-fold increase in human casualties from heat waves compared with the 1990s.” If current predictions hold true, […]

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My what big ears you have…

Jackrabbits have REALLY big ears. Their big ears are well-vascularized as you can see in the photo above. These blood vessels dilate (widen) when it is hot outside to help the animals give off heat to their environment by routing warm blood from their core to their ears. Having such an efficient cooling mechanism means they can conserve water by avoiding the need for evaporative cooling (sweating or panting). As […]

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Study shows warm-blooded animals adapt better to climate changes

A new study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution looked at fossil records, current distributions and the phylogenetic relationships for over 11,000 terrestrial vertebrates. Using historical records to reconstruct climate and geographical ranges they found that birds and mammals were more successful and faster than cold-blooded animals at adapting to climate changes as well as expanding or changing the location or range of their habitats. In a quote from Scientific American, […]

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Will Santa have to find replacements for his reindeer?

New research presented at the British Ecological Society, Liverpool shows that reindeer are shrinking. These findings come from a survey conducted between 1994-2010 in Svalbard, a Norwegian island, which found the animals have lost about 12% of their body mass over this timeframe. The research team thinks the shrinking reindeer phenomenon might be caused by global warming as females have increased access to grasslands and give birth to more calves annually than in […]

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