A decades-long study in Brazil’s Amazon forest recently showed alarming findings as scientists discover that birds are shrinking. They hypothesize that this might be due to the rise in temperatures, which can be more pronounced in the tropics.
Study Shows That Birds are Shrinking Due to High Temperatures
Charles Darwin has long put forth the theory of evolution. In this scientific theory, most species from varied kingdoms (plants or animals) evolve continually to better adapt with the changing times.
Those who are able to quickly adapt are able to survive and improve themselves. These stronger species continue to exist today. But those who weren’t able to find ways to adapt with the times might eventually become extinct.
Not everyone agrees with this theory, but scientists in Brazil found yet another proof of Darwin’s theory.
For over 40 years, scientists caught, measured, and released various species of birds in a remote pocket of the Amazon forest to compare them with birds that lived in habitats destroyed by humans.
Though there were remarked differences among these bird species, the scientists were surprised to learn that the average body weight percentage has decreased.
Surprisingly, some species grew longer wing spans despite having smaller bodies.
The researchers theorized that the longer wing span could have evolved to let these smaller birds fly to farther places to search for food.
They also believe that thinner, leaner bodies might have evolved for birds to stay cool as the temperatures continue to rise. It’s especially pronounced in the tropics where temperatures are among the warmest.
What’s alarming is that the researchers had actually studied different species and types of birds. There were migratory birds, those that lived high up in the trees, and those that preferred to be closer to the ground – and they all showed much lower body weight with each passing decade.
It’s possible that food scarcity might have caused the smaller weight, but they believe that it is linked more to climate change.
‘Divorce’ Rates Higher in Birds Due to Rising Temperatures
In monogamous birds such as the albatross, scientists have also discovered that the ‘divorce’ rate is higher during years when ocean temperatures are higher. They believe that the harsh environmental conditions might have triggered this behavior.