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Around cities, mammals grow up

Around cities, mammals grow up

A recent study undermines the principle that human activities cause some animals to decrease in size. According to these researchers, the mammals that live near cities are increasingly large due to the huge presence of food.

Another factor that competes with temperature

In recent years, science has estimated that human activities have contributed to Reduced size of wild animals In the world. Expanding urban spaces are much warmer than the animals’ natural habitats. However, this increase in temperature often benefits small mammals, which are more economical in terms of energy expenditure. It has to do with a particular biological principle: Bergmann’s rule. Today, the Earth is warming very rapidly and many scientists fear that the size (and weight) of mammals living near cities is decreasing more and more. This would limit their abilities, but also These are their predators.

However, if global warming is a reality, this will likely be deflation It doesn’t happen in the end. A study conducted by the University of Florida in Gainesville (USA) and published in the journal Communication biology August 16, 2021 already raises another factor that rivals temperature. This is having food around densely populated cities. It must be said that the boundaries of our cities Filled with all kinds of waste It harbors fewer predators. According to researchers, wild animals such as coyotes and raccoons tend to grow larger.

Credit: Lupico/iStock

Urbanization at the heart of the phenomenon

In their study, the researchers indicated that they reviewed More than a hundred species Living in North America for the past 80 years. However, the main reason for its evolution in size and weight is not temperature. In fact, the increases are mainly related to species Living near human settlementsRegardless of its temperature. Today, some animals such as rodents, wolves, bats or even deer are more sensitive to urban sprawl than to the temperature of cities.

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For scholars, we must recognize The huge effects of urbanization. It must be said that such a disturbance in the landscape did not exist a few thousand years ago. Therefore, the researchers want future research to include urbanization in the factors of evolution of the size of some mammals. However, they must before that Make another point. Is the animal’s weight gain and size just because of our food waste, or is there something else?