Climate change shrinks sheep

The size-reducing effects of gentler winters overwhelm evolutionary trends

By Susan Milius, 15:47 PM July 2, 2009

Climate change now hits home for tongue twister fans. Shorter, sweeter winters shrink sheep, scientists say (slowly).

Female wild Soay sheep on the remote North Atlantic island of Hirta have shrunk by about 5 percent during the past two decades, says Tim Coulson of Imperial College London’s campus in Berkshire. To see what’s driving that change, a weight loss averaging 81 grams per year, Coulson and his colleagues applied a new analytical approach to a mountain of data. It turns out that ev...

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