Apparently paleontologists are examining fossil records of California ground squirrels to see how a currently warming world is affecting animals, although this DailyGazette.com article doesn’t really do a good job of explaining why. Ah, science journalism — such a tricky thing.
Back when the world was really hot and wet, all animals were larger in size, since hot and wet means tropical, and tropical means plentiful, year-round food supplies.
Then, the earth cooled, and animals shrunk in size. And shivered a lot more.
In the near future, as weather patterns are expected to shift rapidly (and some would say already are) scientists expect the size of animals to change. Or, I think that’s what the research is getting at. It’s not totally clear in this article.
Actually, I think the research was simply meant to study old fossils (which is fine with me) but the public relations department was desperate to find a current news peg. What’s hot? Global warming. Let’s tie it all together and see if we can get some publicity.