Skip to comments.Ancient Warming Shrunk Horses to Housecat Size
Posted on 02/23/2012 11:33:29 AM PST by Free ThinkerNY
An ancient global warming event shrunk the earliest horses down to the size of scrawny housecats, according to new research that could have implications for what mammals might look like in a future warming world.
During what's known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, about 56 million years ago, a massive release of carbon into the atmosphere and oceans boosted average global temperatures by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 degrees Celsius) over 175,000 years. Mammals responded to this climate change by shrinking, with about one-third of species getting smaller.
Now, new research reveals that these changes occurred in lockstep with temperature fluctuations during the period. The earliest-known horse Sifrhippus started out this period as a bit of a pipsqueak: The animals weighed only about 12 pounds (5.6 kilograms) on average, about the size of a miniature schnauzer.
But by 130,000 years into the PETM, Sifrihippus had shrunk down to only about 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg), the size of a small housecat. These humble horses then experienced a size rebound, bulking up to about 15 pounds (7 kg) in the last 45,000 years of this warm period, putting them on par with the average bichon frise.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
This explains Robert Reich and George Stephanopoulos.
Flores Island hobbits. Actually, Flores had pigmy elephants as well. It was because they were on an island where limited food supply was more of a survival concern than were predators.
Impossible. The Earth is only 6,000 years old!
How about giraffes?
There is a giraffe in that pic?? There is something in that pic that gore bull warming did NOT shrink.
“Mammals responded to this climate change by shrinking, with about one-third of species getting smaller.”
Uh huh.. and what did the other 2/3’s do? One must presume they either remained as is, or got larger? So to say that mammals responded by shrinking is on its face nonsense.. some responded by shrinking others did not, and the majority did not.. so what exactly is this all about?
I meant the sickness of having to link CO2 and warming to every article.
having to explain “correlation is not causation” to people who obviously know better - is just sick.
***Sea horses!big thing for kiddies in the late 50s.***
I remember sea monkeys being advertized for years.
Hey, I just might get that pony after all.
Yes, I agree about the compulsion to link CO2 and climate warming in general. The subject is still in its infancy, and most scientists have egos (publish or perish, don’t you know!) which translates into a rush to garner headlines.
As you may have guessed, I have a geeky desire to read about paleontology and geologic past events. One of the books I have is by Peter D. Ward, Out Of Thin Air (2006), which discusses the Permian oxygen crash which could have caused the massive, catastrophic extinction associated with that period.
His book is NOT an exciting read, in fact it is quite dry. But he does a very good job of explaining why dinosaurs evolved with the ability to husband oxygen in their bodies, with birds being the connection between the present and the past. He also explains why and how the oxygen crash may have happened 251Million years ago. Chapter 7 is the most interesting part of the book. Ward also details the rise and fall of CO2 as it corresponds with oxygen pecentages in the atmosphere.
Maybe that’s what I meant! The ole memory is getting a little aged...
46th Post. I was getting worried.
I also have not seen anyone ask, "which came first: the temp rise or the CO^2 rise?"
Also, they state that the temp rose 10C over a 175,000 year period. If it weren't a rise, I might have called that 1/17C per MILLENIUM change (ahem) "glacial".
And, finally, the piece de resistance: But by 130,000 years into the PETM, Sifrihippus had shrunk down to only about 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg), the size of a small housecat. These humble horses then experienced a size rebound, bulking up to about 15 pounds (7 kg) in the last 45,000 years of this warm period, putting them on par with the average bichon frise.
These things went from 12 -> 8.5 (a 1/3 decrease in size) over a 130,000 year period, as it warmed; then, as it FURTHER warmed, (or at least remained as warm) in 1/3 the time, went from 8.5 -> 15...NEARLY DOUBLING in size!
Warmth is amazing! It shrinks AND it expands!
Penguins and polar bears are next!
The horses had to get small to fit into the cars they needed to drive in order to stop global warming. This all makes more sense now!/s/
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Note: this topic is from 2/23/2012. Thanks Free ThinkerNY.
Whoops, missed your ping last year.
The big question...
Could they be litter box trained??
If so, a see a potential market here - kind of like those little annoying dogs that girls carry in purses, but cooler - way cooler!