As soon as the IPCC report marked a “code red” warning for humanity, new research has shown the effects of climate change on animals and birds shapeshifting. Global surface temperatures have increased over the last 2,000 years more quickly since 1970 than any prior 50-year period.
Changes in animal ecology and life history as a result of global environmental change are no longer a theory but a fact. Range shifts, changes in phenology, body size, and, in some cases, extinction are well-documented examples of the effects of climate change.
But these are unlikely to be the only consequences of climate change. Environmental change is likely to affect any element of an organism’s biology that is connected to its ability to adapt to the abiotic environment.
How animals are affected by climate change?
According to a new study published in the Journal “Trends in Ecology and Evolution,” some animals are changing and have grown larger tails, beaks, and ears to control their body temperatures as an effect of global warming on animals, and the phenomenon is termed as the “shapeshifting”.
Researchers uncovered evidence that many endothermic species have developed larger body components, from the parrots of Australia to European rabbits, which can make them dissipate body heat better. Birds and mammals are the predominant endotherms; but, certain fish also are endothermic.
Effects of climate change on Australian parrot and house sparrows
Several species of Australian parrot exhibit a rise in bill size on average of 4-10% since 1871. Each year this corresponds favourably to the summer temperature. Among house sparrows, an increased beak size has been observed.
Effects of global warming on North American dark-eyed Juncos
Dunk-eyed Juncos, a tiny species of songbird from North America were associated with increasing bill sizes. It has been linked with high short-term temperatures in cold surroundings.
Effects of Climate change on Mammals: Shapeshifting
Modifications in mammalian species have also been documented.
There has been observed a rise in the size of ears in European rabbits.
Great roundleaf bat
The giant roundleaf bat’s wing increased in size; an evidence of shapeshifting.
Investigators have documented increase in tails and leg sizes of masked shrews.
Wood mice shapeshifting
Researchers have also observed increase in tail length of wood mice over the period of time.
Because climate change is a dynamic and multidimensional phenomenon. It has been evolving through time, pinpointing a single reason for the shapeshifting is challenging. Apart from climate change, these changes have occurred across vast geographical regions and a broad range of species, so there is nothing in common.