ANIMALS will get smaller over the next century as they downsize to survive.
Scientists say larger species will also be wiped out as humans destroy their habitats.
Getty – Contributor Black rhinos face extinction in the next hundred years
Rodents including the dwarf gerbil and songbirds such as the white-browed sparrow-weaver are likely to be most successful. But tawny eagles and black rhinos face extinction.
On average creatures are expected to be 25 per cent smaller in 100 years as they adapt to the threats of deforestation, hunting, farming, urbanisation and global warming.
By contrast average body size has reduced by just 14 per cent in the 130,000 years since the last ice age. Experts at Southampton university studied the body mass, litter size, habitat, diet and lifespan of 15,484 living animals and birds.
They also used the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species to predict likely extinctions. A spokesman said: “In the future, small, fast-lived, highly-fertile, insect-eating animals, which can thrive in a wide variety of habitats, will predominate.”
Getty – Contributor Tawny eagles may also not make it due to their size
Getty – Contributor Small animals, like gerbils, are more likely to see the 22nd century
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Rob Cooke, lead author of the study, said: “By far the biggest threat to birds and mammals is humankind.”
Colleague prof Felix Eigenbrod said: “We have demonstrated that the projected loss will not be ecologically random, rather a selective process where certain creatures will be filtered out, depending on their traits and vulnerability to ecological change.”
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