Climate change is leaving no truce for this planet: hurricanes, heat domes and droughts continue to be increasingly impacting. Even animals, like humans, are trying to deal with climate change in various ways: some move to colder areas, others change their habits and others evolve.
In a new study published in The Conversation Sara Ryding and Matthew Symonds, respectively PhD student and associate professor of Deakin University, they examined these changes in the body of animals. Warm – blooded creatures use their beaks, ears, tails and other “appendants” to fight the heat.
For example, African elephants direct warm blood into their large ears, which then shake to disperse heat. Birds, however, divert blood into the beak when it is too hot. Already in 1870, American zoologist Joel Allen noticed that in colder climates, warm – blooded animals had smaller appendages, while in warm climates it was the opposite.
This observation became known as the Allen Rule and applies to mammals and birds. So how do animals change with climate change? The experts have tried to understand that very well. The size of the beak of some Australian parrots increased between 4 and 10% since 1871. In Cinereus, the length of the tail and the legs has increased significantly since 1950 and in the round leaf bat of Lamotte the size of the wings has increased by 1,64% since 1950.
Of course, more studies are needed to say something like that and, of course, not all of these changes could be a direct response to climate change. Darwin’s average beak size has changed over time in response to the size of the seeds, which are in turn influenced by precipitation.
This is a research that shows the direct effects of climate change on animals; it is very important to try to protect these species and to understand what we might expect in the future.