Why Birds and Mammals have the Most Chances of Surviving Climate Change?

Why Birds and Mammals have the Most Chances of Surviving Climate Change?

Why is climate change affecting just some species?

Climate change is one of the most worrying issues that cause equal disturbance to all parts of the world. The concepts like ‘Global Warming’ have destructive effects on all the living organisms present in this world. The impact might vary in terms of intensity but either less or more, it damages every species on the face of this planet.

According to the latest research, warm-blooded creatures like mammals and birds have better chances of surviving the climatic changes that are taking place continuously for past few years. The most important factor which explains this research is the fact that both these species are warm-blooded.

This helps these creatures to maintain a constant temperature inside their bodies. The working mechanism behind this amazing benefit is that their bodies create their own heat when exposed to cooler environments. Similarly, their bodies release extra heat when they are in hot conditions. The food they eat is used to produce all the heat needed by the body. The meager amount of their diet is used as body mass. Rest of it is utilized for this purpose.

On the contrary, cold-blooded animals, like reptiles and amphibians, take the temperature of the environment. Their body temperature can be greater than warm-blooded animals in hot weather. They are very active in such a climate while colder temperature makes them sluggish. The reason for this is that the speed of chemical reactions inside their bodies are dependent on external temperature as most of their food is converted to body mass.

Melting glacier

Historically, mammals and birds have outperformed other species in terms of adapting to changing temperatures and changing habitats accordingly. The latest study was published in ‘Nature Ecology and Evolution’ in which more than 11000 vertebrate species were analyzed. Fossil records from the last 270 million years were also utilized in compiling results of this research. The data collected gave an edge to warm-blooded animals as they showed a greater range of diversity in terms of their living areas. Similarly, they had the better adaptability to varying climatic conditions. Cold-blooded animals were found slow in their approach to adjust to these changes. This research was led by a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of British Columbia called Jonathan Rolland. He states that:

“We see that mammals and birds are better able to stretch out and extend their habitats, meaning they adapt and shift much easier. Adaptability has a strong effect on the rate of extinction and what the planet could look like in the future.”

It is a common concept in the scientific world that Earth was much warmer billions of years ago. There were many species that were comfortable at that temperature but fade away towards extinction as the temperature of Earth dropped. Dinosaurs are one of the most popular examples in that regard. The ability of warm-blooded species to adapt and relocate themselves in a more suitable region helped them to survive. The capability to counter the extreme heat of deserts and icy-cold weather of Antarctica has made them come a long way.

Another reason why mammals and birds have better chances of thriving as a species in changing climate is their capacity to keep their offspring warm in their own bodies. On the other hand, cold-blooded animals need suitable conditions for their eggs to hatch. Not only cold spell of weather but extreme warm conditions can also be fatal for many reptiles and amphibians. Barry Sinervo, a reptile expert at the University of California, published a study in May 2010 claiming that as many as 20% of lizard species worldwide could go extinct by 2080 and local extinction could reach to 40%. He also stated that 4% of the local population has already gone extinct since 1975.

Despite the general impression that snakes, lizards and other reptiles love warm weather, the study above depicts that they too have their limits.

Unfortunately, humans are behind all this as we are destroying Earth for our personal benefits. We need to think and look for ways that are useful not only for humans but other species as well. According to the facts explained above, we are doing more harm to other species than us and this should be stopped at any cost.

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Muneeb ud Deen
A sports fanatic who loves to read.
"Honesty and self-satisfaction have been my weapons throughout my writing career of 3 years."

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