Earth's average temperature has steadily risen since humans started burning fossil fuels following the Industrial Revolution. This is leading to a rise in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Due to human activities, the Earth's average temperature has already warmed by 1°C and can possibly breach 2°C if such activities are not stopped.
Rising global temperatures negatively impact humans, birds, pollinators, and humans; a shocking study showed that rapid global warming leads to reptile evolution. The discoveries of a new study challenge the already known reasons for the evolution of the reptiles.
A study published in the journal Nature Communications showed that the rising worldwide temperatures long millions of years ago prompted the pace of development and variety of reptiles to explode. As per the study led by researchers from Harvard University in the United States, this outrageous environmental shift led to various acquired abilities and physical characteristics just over 250 million years ago. This laid out reptile lineages as one of the most successful and diverse animal groups on the planet. Beforehand, specialists had believed that the explosion in reptile species was the aftereffect of two of the most significant mass extinction events.
These events on the Earth took place at the end of the Permian geologic period. About 252 million years ago, approx. 86 percent of all the animal species were wiped out. This also marked the era of reptile evolution. Scientists from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University concentrated on the substantial changes in reptiles. They related it with environmental information to track down designs.
The group of researchers of Harvard University precisely measured and scanned reptile fossils going from 294-237 million years old. They analyzed 1,000 specimens at 50 research institutions in 20 countries. For environment data, they used an extensive existing database of ocean surface temperatures given oxygen isotope information that extends back to 450 million years.
By following changes in the body and head size and state of reptiles and matching it with environmental information, the researchers found that the quicker the pace of environmental change, the quicker reptiles evolved.
The detailed work of evolutionary paleontologist Tiago Simões and the group has refined the complex transformative tree for reptiles and their ancestors. Nonetheless, it's yet unclear which assumed a more significant part in reptile evolution — that a large number of open biological niches after the End-Permian mass extinction or the dramatic climate fluctuations.