While climate change gathers pace over our planet, some small warm-blooded animal species appear to have acquired some evolutionary physical modifications to adopt to warmer weather, according to research published in the Trends in Ecology & Evolution journal
The study, carried out by specialists from Australia's Deakin University, showed that changes in sizes and form are believed to help regulate body temperature. The evolution has mostly affected birds, especially some species of Australian parrots, whose beaks have increased in size by up to 10 percent since 1871.
Less visible changes were observed in some mammals, including Chinese bats, swine and rabbits, whose tails, ears and legs have grown slightly larger over the past decades.
Researchers note that the exact reasons for the evolutionary changes cannot yet be determined precisely, but global warming as a result of human-induced climate change is
considered to be the most likely primary driving force.
Experts noted that the phenomena could not be seen as negative, but this evolution, seen in such short periods, may not secure those species long-term survival
To learn more about the ongoing evolutionary changes, researchers plan to carry out more precise calculations by using 3D scans Australian birds based on museum specimens collected over the last hundred years.