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Climate Change Could Shrink Animals

By Tim Wall

Climate change could result in a planet full of cold-blooded runts.

In a warming world, copepods, tiny crustaceans that make up the bulk of the ocean’s animal plankton, could end up stunted. Copepods cope with warmer temperatures by maturing faster, but they don’t grow as fast as they mature, so they end up runts.

The same phenomenon, called the “temperature-size rule,” affects most cold-blooded animals, so as the planet heats up, many animals’ sizes may go down.

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