23 Feb '12, 7pm

Chihuahua-size horses caused by climate change

Sifrhippus and modern horse. (Illustration by Danielle Byerley, courtesy University of Florida.) After they first appeared in the fossil record, horses got smaller as a result of a warming planet, says a study just published in Science . Thing is, proto-horses weren’t that big to begin with — Sifrhippus, the first horse, only weighed 15 pounds — so by the time the climate was done with them, they’d shrunk down to 8.5 pounds, or about the size of Paris Hilton’s dog Tinkerbell. “Horses started out small, about the size of a small dog like a miniature schnauzer,” said co-author Jonathan Bloch, associate curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “What’s surprising is that after they first appeared, they then became even smaller and then dramatically increased in size, and that exactly corresponds to the global warming event, ...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/chihuahua-size-horses-caused-by-cli...

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