The Worldwide Phenomenon That's Shrinking Animals

Animals across the globe are shrinking, and scientists think climate change might be to blame.

The threat of rising temperatures due to global warming will have serious effects on our tiny blue planet. Warming oceans could kill coral reefs, there might be less fresh water, more disease, less polar bears, more bark beetles, the list goes on. But here is one side effect you may not have heard of: smaller horses.

That's right, warmer temperatures could make some animals shrink.

About 50 million years ago, after the dinosaurs died off, the Earth went through a series of warming events called hyperthermals, most likely from an increase of carbon. Most notably was what scientists call the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), when temperatures rose between 5 and 8 degrees celsius, and stayed that way for almost 200,000 years.

Now, scientists wanted to know how this global warming event affected the creatures living at the time, so they started studying ancient horse teeth. And they found that, when global temperatures rose, these horses shrank.

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