Everyone should be a little choosy when it comes to picking a significant other, but due to global warming, certain animal species may be finding different bedfellows than usual to help ensure survival in the changing climate.
For example, ecosystems that are traditionally snowy and white during the winter are now experiencing warmer weather, and as a result, less snow during the winter seasons. Traditionally, animals in those ecosystems who are white in color tend to have an advantage due to their natural camouflage with the snow to avoid prey — however, the changing climate means that is no longer the case. Rather, darker animals that more closely resemble earth and dirt tones now have a distinct survival advantage since winter is shorter. The traits of that species that are most beneficial to survival are flipped, and darker animals of that species are now considered the more desirable mating partner.
Researchers spoke on what this means for species on a global scale:
These regions may be where some of the fastest climate-change evolution could happen. As more of the brown-coated species survive, they’ll have first dibs on passing along their genetic information for generations to come. The regions shown above are most-often homes to the arctic fox, type of weasels, and a type jackrabbit. Other regions across the globe like the southern coast of Japan and the southwest of the US, are polymorphic zones for other types of molting mammals.
If the species as a whole can’t pass along its winter-brown genes, it’ll likely join the ranks of the hundreds of other animal species that are endangered or extinct as a result of human activity.
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