Category: Fauna

Human-sized Penguin

July 20, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

Global warming is causing many species of animals to shrink. That is why we’re intrigued by this counter-intuitive RESEARCH on prehistoric giant penguins. Most penguin species today are small to average sized flightless birds that live in the colder regions of the southern hemisphere. They…

Shrinking Human Clickbait?

June 16, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

Hmmm, interesting. In the context of what seems to be the promotion of a new book on mammals, professor Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh lists several all too well-known examples related to the phenomenon of shrinking as a survival mechanism when temperatures rise…

A Small Advantage

May 30, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

According to research of the University of Southampton the body mass of mammals will shrink by 25% over the next century, as creatures large and small will seek to adapt to environmental changes brought on by extensive habitat loss and other stressors as a result…

Micro Insects

April 20, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

There are clear advantages to becoming very small. Micro-organisms gain access to new niches, acquire new food sources and avoid predation. They shrink towards abundance. Yet there are limiting factors to how small an animal can become including the disruption of thermoregulation or respiration, water…

Lancelot’s Pony

January 22, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

The importance of the horse for social, cultural, and economic life in the Middle Ages made them a research focus for both historians and archaeologists. A recent paper in the International Journal of osteoarcheology presents a dataset of English horse bones from 171 unique archaeological…

Small Amazonians

November 27, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

Birds are sensitive indicators of environmental change. A recent study of understory birds of the Amazon rainforest over a timespan of 40 years and 77 species shows again that most birds are adapting to the current drastic environmental changes by becoming smaller. By zooming in…

Mating Swarms

October 25, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

Selection on male body size is the result of four components of lifetime reproductive succes . 1. Daily mating success (how often do you get lucky). 2. Fecundity (number of offspring per mating). 3. Stamina (time remained within a situation of possible mating). 4. Longevity.…

Salmons Too

May 2, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

Most of us presume growth of body length in vertebrates to be unidirectional, with organisms progressively increasing in body size as they become older. However, under challenging environmental conditions for some vertebrates body length shrinkage is also possible. This ability is called the Dehnel phenomenon.…

Short-Tongued Bombus

April 10, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

A study in Science shows that in a period of just 40 years two alpine bumblebee species (Bombus balteatus and Bombus sylvicola) rapidly evolved significantly shorter tongues. Short-tongued species are more generalist foragers, able to feed on many different types of flowers. They are replacing more specialised, long-tongued…

No Small Fish

February 10, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

One of many food-related ecological challenges is the overconsumption of fish. Worldwide, especially in the global south, fish is still a key component of a nutritious and healthy diet. Until we find and are able to produce widely available and sustainable alternatives (which we must)…

Rafting Monkeys

June 7, 2020 By arne hendriks Off

We know of only three species of pre-historic mammals that managed to cross the Atlantic ocean between Africa and South-America. One of them was the now extinct Ucayalipithecus monkey about 35 million years ago. The other species of “immigrant” mammals were New World Monkeys, flat-nosed…

Royal (Feynmann) Antelope

May 16, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

The royal antelope is the smallest member of the deer family. It stands only 25cm tall and weighs a mere 3kg. It is closer in size to a pet rabbit than to other antelopes. Its evolution may have been the result of dietary strategy. Antelopes…

Red Knot Protein Transition

May 13, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Reductions in body size in various animals are increasingly being identified as a response to climate warming. As early as the mid 19th century biologists observed that animals in warmer condition often tended to be smaller. The principle was formulated as Bergmann’s Rule. It is…

Shrink Agents

April 30, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

It’s not easy for an individual human being, nor for the human species in general, to embrace the radical change implied in an existence as a smaller being. Growth, it seems, is the rhythm of life. But not for all life. Fortunately there are species…

Sneaky Copulation

February 17, 2016 By arne hendriks 1

In terms of reproduction, size matters. In most species larger dominant males are preferred by the females, and perform better in male to male competition. And as a result they get to spread their ‘king-size’ genes around. But not always. Sometimes smaller is preferred as…

Dinosaur-Bird Transition

February 16, 2016 By arne hendriks 1

Wonderful things can happen when a species shrinks. In the case of a particular lineage of theropod dinosaurs that wonderful thing eventually turned out to be flight. Dinosaurs became birds. Before the bulky theropods that roamed the Earth 200+ million years ago turned into the…

Nicrophorus Vespilloides

January 10, 2016 By arne hendriks 1

In most species large males have more mating success than small males, either because females find them more attractive or because they can use their strength to intimidate small rivals. They are also more likely to have more sexual partners and be less committed fathers.…

Micro-Livestock: A Possible Future

January 8, 2016 By arne hendriks 1

Although animal science has traditionally emphasized bigness, the 1991 report Micro-Livestock: Little-Known Animals with a Promising Economic Future shows that smallness has many advantages. If in the future the human species will become smaller, we will benefit from most of the advantages listed below. Small animals…

Small Chameleon’s Mighty Tongue

January 7, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Chameleons employ a power amplification mechanism to ballistically project their tongue as far as two body lengths from their mouth to capture prey. To do so, the tongue is rapidly accelerated off the hyoid with the tongue subsequently traveling to the prey on its momentum…

Mandragora

February 6, 2015 By arne hendriks 0

The Incredible shrinking Man desires a more ecological human existence. We’ve outgrown our naturally given space on Earth and are starting to experience the consequences, or even consider exit strategies. But rather than fantasising about a departure from the planet that designed us, we investigate…