The Earth is on fire, although until very recently, pretty much every notable rightwing asshat was (natural) gaslighting their constituents into thinking otherwise. While there has been a noticeable paradigm shift in the way the majority of them address climate change, the fact that they moved from “flat-out denial” to “begrudging, nihilistic ‘what can ya do?’ acceptance” does little to calm our utter contempt for those who so knowingly marched humanity towards the brink of calamity.
That repulsion is only deepened upon learning that literal bird brains apparently noticed what’s been going on around them, and have been adjusting accordingly for generations... well, those that haven’t died off in wholesale mass extinctions, of course.
Earlier this week, Sara Ryding, an avian researcher at Australia’s Deakin University, published new research detailing multiple bird species’ recent “shape-shifting” physical changes to compensate for our roasting planet in the journal, Trends in Ecology and Evolution. In particular, their findings examined body parts like beaks, ears, and legs, which often aid in keeping the animals cooler.
“Appendages have an important, but often undervalued, role in animal thermoregulation as sites of heat exchange,” states Ryding and her paper’s co-authors, adding, “Animals are shifting their morphologies to have proportionately larger appendages in response to climate change and its associated temperature increases.”
Basing their work on what’s known as Allen’s rule—the observable trend that animals in warmer regions of the planet often have more sizable appendages to help with heat exchange—the team highlighted species including multiple Australian parrots, who have displayed between 4%–10% larger bills since 1871 that “positively correlated with the summer temperature each year.” Other species such as the North American dark-eyed junco are used as evidence pointing towards “a link between increased bill size and short-term temperature extremes in cold environments.”
It’s not just birds that are shape-shifting, either. Ryding’s paper also details certain mammals, such as small rodents, whose tail and leg sizes are also getting larger to adapt to wild heat swings, as well as some bat species’ whose wingspans are increasing to deal with their own environmental alterations.
Yet further proof that actual pea-brained creatures have more common sense and awareness than Ted Cruz on his best days.
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