25 Feb '12, 7am

Global warming and mammal body size

Global warming and mammal body size

The modern Morgan horse weighs half a ton, contrasting with the 5.5 pounds (12kg) of the smallest horse species (Sifrhippus sandrae); Credit: Danielle Byerley, UFL Fifty six million years ago, there was a global warming event, known as the PETM (Palaeozoic Eocene Thermal Maximum), just before the appearance of early mammals. Horse evolution has been studied more than that of any other mammal with many genera displaying the classic reductions and teeth modifications that have been well-researched over many years. Paleontological research has now found a very early horse, Sifrhippus , just at the PETM. As this horse evolved, the warming spell was evidenced in Wyoming (with the earth's temperatures rising an average of 10 to 20o C at the time of the Palaeocene/Eocene split). With data on various isotopes and aridity and CO2 concentrations now complete, the mirroring of the cl...

Full article: http://www.earthtimes.org/scitech/global-warming-mammal-b...

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