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Published on Feb 24, 2012
Shrinky Dinks apparently aren't the only thing to shrink under extreme heat. A new study suggests that global warming just might cause humans to get smaller. A team of university researchers has found that the Sifrhippus, a miniature version of the horse, shrank by 30 percent to the size of a house cat during a volatile 130-thousand year period of warming approximately 56 million years ago. Then, in the following 45-thousand years of cooling, the mini-horse almost doubled in size.
The idea that certain mammals are smaller in hotter climates has been common knowledge for some time, but the examination of Sifrhippus's fossils found in the Bighorn Basin offers solid evidence of how species of mammal evolve in response to dramatic shifts in climate.
The exact cause of the changes to the miniature horse can't be known and that disruption of ecosystems and migration could also have played a part.
But with concerns that global warming is now happening on a scale of hundreds as opposed to thousands of years, we may be left to wonder: if warming continues at this rate, will we have to lower basketball rims in the years ahead?