An Ornithologist’s unconventional methods of collecting birds led to a stunning collection based on an urban tragedy over four decades ago has led to a stunning discovery – shrinking animals. David Willard helped create a mammoth collection of over 100,000 birds that revealed a striking find.
David Willard was an ornithologist at Chicago’s Field Museum when in the late seventies he received reports of the death of a large number of birds after colliding with glass frontage of buildings in Chicago. He preserved those birds and they now comprise around 20% of the total bird collection of the ornithological section of the museum.
Hidden in this urban tragedy is another take of evolution. The birds when compared over the years revealed a stunning fact. Every collected species has been reducing over the years, and it appears that the rising temperatures of the planet are to be blamed for the shrinking animals.
And further research has shown that the reports of shrinking animals are not confined to birds alone. Every creature of the human ecosystem is a victim of the changes in the climatic patterns of the planet.
Shrinking animals face the prospect of extinction, especially if they go down in size faster than other competing animals in the hierarchy. And this trend has been observed in all types of creatures both cold and warm-blooded. It has been observed in frogs and many large mammals. And such an imbalance could throw the total ecosystem into disarray.
Evidence That Shrinking Animals Are Also Linked To Climatic Changes
There has been evidence of other evolutionary and climatic factors that contribute to shrinking animals. Climate changes have been found to alter the distribution of species while the body patterns and colors have been changed in other species of both animals and birds.
But there is also a principle that animals in cooler climes tend to be larger while higher temperatures cause the shrinking of animals’ species.
There is evolutionary evidence that links animals shrinking to warmer climes. In the early Eocene period when temperatures went up by 5 to 8 C in 10,000 years, the size of animals decreased.
Current trends point out that average temperatures will go up by 1.5C by 2040. The animal shrinking has affected 52 species of North American birds over the last 4 decades. And that has implications for the future