Monday, August 8

Mammals are bigger as a result of cities | Digital Trends Spanish

New research shows that urbanization is causing many species of mammals to increase in size, likely due to the availability of food in crowded places.

Researchers at the Florida Museum of Natural History discovered an unexpected pattern after analyzing nearly 140,000 measurements of body length and mass from more than 100 species of mammals that inhabit North America over 80 years.

According to the results of the study, the mammals that live in the city are longer and larger than those that live in the countryside.

“In theory, animals in cities should get smaller and smaller due to the effects of the heat island, but we have not found evidence that this occurs in mammals,” explains lead study author Maggie Hantak, a researcher. from the Florida Museum.

“This work is a good argument for why we cannot assume that Bergmann’s Rule or climate alone is important in determining the size of animals.”

The team in charge created a model that examined how the climate and the density of people living in a certain area influence the size of mammals.

As temperatures dropped, both body length and mass increased in most of the mammalian species studied, a trend that became stronger in areas with more inhabitants.

“It was not what we expected to find at all,” the authors note.

“But urbanization represents this new disturbance of the natural landscape that did not exist thousands of years ago. It is important to recognize that it is having a great impact ”.

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