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Climate change shrinks wild sheep: scientists
AFP on Yahoo | 7/2/09

Posted on 07/02/2009 4:12:57 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

PARIS (AFP) – Climate change has caused a flock of wild sheep on a remote northern Scottish island to become smaller, according to an unusual investigation published on Thursday.

The study explains a mystery that has bedevilled scientists for the past two years.

The wild Soay sheep live on Hirta, in the St. Kilda archipelago in the storm-battered Outer Hebrides, and have been closely studied for nearly a quarter of a century.

The law of evolutionary theory says the brown, thick-coated ungulates should have got progressively bigger.

Tough winters mean that bigger sheep have a better chance of survival and of reproducing than smaller ones, and eventually they would dominate in the flock's numbers.

But in 2007, stunned researchers realised that the average size of the Hirta sheep, instead of rising, had been progressively falling.

The answer, British biologists said on Thursday, lies in climate change.

A team led by Tim Coulson, a professor at Imperial College London, pored over data for the animals' body size and life history over 24 years.

They found that the sheep were not growing as fast as they once did and smaller sheep were likelier to survive into adulthood instead of perishing as lambs.

This gives smaller sheep a shot at reproduction, which means that the average sheep size has fallen -- by 81 grammes per year (2.85 ounce) per year on average.

Coulson believes that shorter, milder winters mean that lambs do not need to put on as much weight in the first months of life in order to survive to their first birthday, as they did when winters were colder.

"In the past, only the big, healthy sheep and large lambs that had piled on weight in their first summer could survive the harsh winters on Hirta," he said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: climatechange; godsgravesglyphs; hirta; scientists; sheep; shrinks; soay; stkildaarchipelago; wild

1 posted on 07/02/2009 4:12:57 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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Soay sheep are seen in France in 2004. Climate change has caused a flock of wild sheep on a remote northern Scottish island to become smaller, according to an unusual investigation published on Thursday. The wild Soay sheep live on Hirta, in the St. Kilda archipelago in the storm-battered Outer Hebrides, and have been closely studied for nearly a quarter of a century. (AFP/File)


2 posted on 07/02/2009 4:14:36 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed.)
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To: NormsRevenge

“The law of evolutionary theory says the brown, thick-coated ungulates should have got progressively bigger. “

Since when is theory, law?


3 posted on 07/02/2009 4:16:06 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: NormsRevenge

As soon as I get out of bed, I continually snap my fingers: It keeps the elephants away. There! That proves cause and effect. Makes about as much sense.


4 posted on 07/02/2009 4:17:57 PM PDT by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all.....)
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To: NormsRevenge

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2284358/posts


5 posted on 07/02/2009 4:18:27 PM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: xcamel

Thanks!


6 posted on 07/02/2009 4:19:36 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed.)
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To: NormsRevenge

OK, I’m finally on board if I can blame it for shrinkage.


7 posted on 07/02/2009 4:20:45 PM PDT by John W
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To: NormsRevenge
What climate change? Global cooling?

Any conclusion made by correlating a factual observation with a faulty one is still faulty.

8 posted on 07/02/2009 4:21:08 PM PDT by dajeeps
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To: NormsRevenge; xcamel; steelyourfaith; neverdem
Funny: TOTAL climate change right is less than 1/2 of 1/10 of ONE degree. And that change in temperature occurred from 1970 through May, 2009.

If you assume that the HOTTEST year “ever” was 1934, then there has been NO climate change that could have changed the sheep. If you take the “corrected” temperatures that Hansen's GISS have corrupted, then 1998 was “hottest” at a gain of 1/2 of one degree from 1970.

So, how does 1/2 of one degree make the sheep change?

9 posted on 07/02/2009 4:21:27 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: NormsRevenge
The law of evolutionary theory says the brown, thick-coated ungulates should have got progressively bigger.

A law? Theories, hypotheses maybe, but scientific LAWS must be proven.

10 posted on 07/02/2009 4:21:52 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: NormsRevenge
These “global warming” scientists are really an embarrassment. Havn’t heard about washing in Woolite?
11 posted on 07/02/2009 4:23:11 PM PDT by bitterohiogunclinger (America held hostage - day 163)
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To: NormsRevenge

I wonder which climate change they’re referring to - the warming one or the cooling one?????

Or does that even matter if they simply call it climate change?


12 posted on 07/02/2009 4:23:47 PM PDT by savedbygrace (You are only leading if someone follows. Otherwise, you just wandered off... [Smokin' Joe])
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To: NormsRevenge
Gee if this climate change stuff keeps up any longer the sheep will look like wooley rats with horns. We gotta do something about this folks!

Waddya say we spend another trillion or two bucks or so of our magic climate fixing American money to help the earth before it's too late.......

AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!

13 posted on 07/02/2009 4:25:42 PM PDT by R_Kangel (`.`)
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To: NormsRevenge

That island has interested me since seeing the movie “The Edge of the World” which was about St. Kilda or Hirta as the main island is called.

That very remote island had been occupied by humans for at least 2000 years but they finally gave up in the 1930’s after some bad crops and cold weather. The movie is about the abandonment of the island.


14 posted on 07/02/2009 4:28:48 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: NormsRevenge
The law of evolutionary theory says the brown, thick-coated ungulates should have got progressively bigger.

I thought the law of evolutionary theory said that animal populations on islands with no major predators would become smaller, like the shetland ponies.

15 posted on 07/02/2009 4:29:09 PM PDT by joshhiggins
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To: NormsRevenge

Well there ya are! It’s all that studying of the sheep that has made them shrink. If everybody would let’em alone they’de get big again.


16 posted on 07/02/2009 4:31:13 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

Actually, man is responsible for global warming. We started it with daylight savings time. All these years of adding that extra hour of sunlight did the trick.


17 posted on 07/02/2009 4:33:13 PM PDT by umgud (Look to gov't to solve your everday problems and they'll control your everday life.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Wild sheep got shrinkage?!?


18 posted on 07/02/2009 4:34:20 PM PDT by MortMan (Power without responsibility-the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages. - Rudyard Kipling)
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To: yarddog

It sounds pretty rugged out there.


19 posted on 07/02/2009 4:35:58 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Smaller sheep!!

OMG We’re all gonna die!!


20 posted on 07/02/2009 4:37:09 PM PDT by NaughtiusMaximus (Uh, Mr. President, did you lose your contact lense OR ARE YOU PRAYING?)
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To: NormsRevenge

Can it shrink a goiter too?


21 posted on 07/02/2009 4:37:26 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Ewe never know what baaaaaad science the global warming crowd is going to come up with next.


22 posted on 07/02/2009 4:39:38 PM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: NormsRevenge
Lot of guessing going on here. There are many factors which affect the sizes of animals. In the case of ungulates, the three major factors are usually breeding advantage, food availability, and predation.

Breeding advantage favors larger males. Smaller animals can thrive on less food. Predation can introduce a number of factors, but is probably not important in this situation.

This sounds likes a situation where the food supply was impacted in some way. This could have been from a (sheep) population increase, reduced habitat, or just a more fragmented habitat (which could have been caused by something like an increase in fencing).

There are many possibilities.

23 posted on 07/02/2009 4:43:17 PM PDT by 3niner (When Obama succeeds, America fails.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Would this not be good news for those, who after legalizing gay marriage, would want to marry a sheep? I mean I wouldn’t know, but I’m just saying...


24 posted on 07/02/2009 4:49:07 PM PDT by Wildbill22
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To: NormsRevenge

Would this not be good news for those, who after legalizing gay marriage, would want to marry a sheep? I mean I wouldn’t know, but I’m just saying...


25 posted on 07/02/2009 4:49:37 PM PDT by Wildbill22
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To: NormsRevenge
On the other hand it's been scientifically demonsrated that DWARFISM is advantageous in cold, nasty climates ~ examples occur among the Sa'ami in the sapmai (Northernmost part of the Fenno-Scandian peninsula) and the last surviving Woolly Mammoths of Wrangel Island.

At the same time a large size may be equally important ~ hence the large Columbians, the Neanderthals, the polar bears (a variation of the common brown bear that's able to survive in the far North), and various kinds of sealife.

This goes both ways ~ simultaneously. Ordinarily the "dwarfism" found in the far North will be described as "island dwarfism", but in many instances the affected creatures are not on islands - just land chopped up into small ranges by glaciers.

The wild Soay sheep that live on Hirta may simply be suffering from "island dwarfism", or "polar dwarfism", or maybe this is little more than a short rest between surges of polar gigantism.

We'll never know.

26 posted on 07/02/2009 4:51:44 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: umgud

Mitch Daniels is certainly doomed.


27 posted on 07/02/2009 4:53:04 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: John W
I thought shrinkage was caused by global cooling.
28 posted on 07/02/2009 4:53:12 PM PDT by Wahoo82
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To: umgud
Sounds like an idea worthy of large cash grants, endless study, hundreds of per reviewed papers seriously discussed by sharp minds in prestidigitation journals.
29 posted on 07/02/2009 4:54:58 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: John W

Oh, no....Not the dreaded.....”shrinkage”


30 posted on 07/02/2009 4:56:49 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: NormsRevenge

It must have been a tough place to live but the population at one time was maybe a couple of hundred or more which is a fair number for a small island.

Several migrations and a few diseases for which they had no immunity had reduced the number to around 28 when they finally left for the mainland.

Although they grew a few vegetable crops and had sheep and small cattle their diet consisted largely of birds and eggs of which the island had a lot.

It is now deserted except for a small military outpost.


31 posted on 07/02/2009 4:58:58 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: NormsRevenge
The law of evolutionary theory says the brown, thick-coated ungulates should have got progressively bigger.

Oops, can't have that now, must be global warming. Never mind that the earth hasn't warmed in the last decade. Now we not only have to defend global warming, but also evolution.

32 posted on 07/02/2009 5:13:50 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: NormsRevenge

Shrinkage.....


33 posted on 07/02/2009 7:31:07 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: NormsRevenge

If you watch the show “Smallville”, St. Kilda was the location of the Luther ancestral castle. Of course there never was a castle on such a remote, hard to get to place with only a handfull of people on it.

Also the song “Birks of St. Kilda” in the show was actually the tune of “Loch Lomond” and there was only grass on the island, no birks or birches as we call them.


34 posted on 07/02/2009 7:46:53 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: NormsRevenge

The last 10 years have seen longer and harsher winters and they keep getting longer and harsher. How do they explain that? Actually, harsh, cold winters would cause smaller animals because the big ones require more food and therefore would die off quicker. These people are shameless and will say anything to promote global warming(some of them keep forgetting to use climate change).


35 posted on 07/02/2009 8:38:09 PM PDT by calex59
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE; Little Bill; IrishCatholic; Normandy; According2RecentPollsAirIsGood; ...
Thanx !

 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

36 posted on 07/06/2009 11:00:19 AM PDT by steelyourfaith ("The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money" - Lady Thatcher)
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Note: this topic is from July 2, 2009. Thanks NormsRevenge.

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37 posted on 10/28/2010 8:24:17 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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