Cold Conditions Result in Rapid Evolution – #365papers – 2017 – 116

#365papers for April 26, 2017

Clavel and Morlon, 2017, Accelerated body size evolution during cold climatic periods in the Cenozoic: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1606868114

What’s it about?

There are many papers published that discuss the dwarfing of animal species during episodes of global warmth. Here, the authors show that during times of coldness, the types of body shapes and sizes in both mammals and birds change rapidly.

Why does it matter?

Paleontologists and evolutionary biologists are interested in how organisms evolve into new species and whether external events may have any influence. Knowing that colder episodes of climate may cause a spike in speciation helps us better understand these processes.

Why did I read this?

Like many paleontologists, I am aware of the dwarfing that occurs at periods of high global temperatures. I am also aware that these are typically periods of loss of species. It is interesting to learn that colder climates may spur the evolution of new species.

Published by paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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