Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Small mammals and climate change

I really appreciated Mr. Schollmeier's comments form Mar. 29:

Voles! Something so small telling us about what's happening with the whole planet. Why not a reptile, bird, or some marine life? I'm guessing access and ease of observation, on our own "turf" so to speak. Could it be that mammals, who survived the great dinosaur extinction, have gone through multiple evolutionary changes during each of the preceding warmings? Is it possible to identify a warming associated with human evolution? Then could we say that either extinction or evolution are the next phase for human life?

He is "right on" with his comments and observations! The small mammals succeeded (avoided extinction) and the dinosaurs didn't because the small mammals breed so quickly and prolifically that their offspring had a chance to adapt to the changing climate. As the climate changed, those babies better suited survived , reproduced and passed on the successful traits. The dinos had fewer offspring and a longer gestation period. Their offspring just did not have a chance to adapt.

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