Animals could 'shrivel' in size due to global warming, researchers say

By Troy Frisby, Buzz60

Global warming may not just melt the polar icecaps and create a snowpocalypse previously only seen in 'The Day After Tomorrow.'

The AP reports that about 54 million years ago mammals, humans' earliest primate ancestor included, "shriveled a bit in size at least twice in Earth's history when temperatures spiked."

Researchers studied fossil teeth discovered in Wyoming and, according to the AP, a small horse shrunk 14% in size.

See more on climate change:

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Coastal Alaskan town concerned with global warming, drilling
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Coastal Alaskan town concerned with global warming, drilling
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: The village of Shishmaref, Alaska, which sits upon the Chukchi sea, is seen on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: The Chukchi sea is seen near Shishmaref, Alaska, on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: Cliff Weyiouanna relaxes in his home after breakfast on July 9, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 08: A view of the beach along a barrier island in the Chukchi sea, is seen on July 8, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 07: The tide comes in on a beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 07: Rusting barrels sit on the beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 07: A house sits on the edge of the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 08: Wild flowers grow on a beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 8, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea, worrying locals who live in the region and disappointing conservationists. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SHISHMAREF, AK - JULY 09: The village of Shishmaref, Alaska, which sits upon the Chukchi sea, is seen on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi sea. Shishmaref has also had to build a seawall due to a decades-long problem with coastal erosion that has shrunk the size of the barrier island the town is built upon. The town was originally supposed to be relocated to a new site, though that plan has been put on hold. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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A University of New Hampshire researcher says the horses, originally approximately the size of a dog, "may have gone down to the size of a cat."

That's not the only bad news. D'Ambrosia says it's likely this shrinking isn't isolated to only Wyoming's Bighorn Basin.

She's concerned modern mammals could also shrink in the future as temperatures continue to rise.

No worries, though. Humans aren't expected to be affected this time around.

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