24 Feb '12, 5pm

Yale Environment 360: Warming Climate Caused Early Horse

24 Feb 2012: Warming Climate Caused Early Horse Species to Shrink, Study Says A new study suggests that the earliest known horse species shrank significantly in size over a 135,000-year span as a consequence of a warming climate. Using geochemical testing and measurements of fossilized teeth dating back more than 50 million years, U.S. researchers found that a 30-percent decrease in the body size of the species, Sifrihippus sandae , corresponded closely with changes in global temperatures. As the average global temperature rose by about 10 degrees F during the first 135,000 years of that period — known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) — the early horse, which lived in the forests of North America, declined in size from about 12 pounds to about 8.5 pounds, presumably because a declining amount of available oxygen. According to the study, published in the journ...

Full article: http://e360.yale.edu/digest/warming_climate_caused_early_...

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