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3,2,1, Panic: Climate change could make humans shrink

Great Headlines in Science: 

“Climate crisis could make humans shrink in size, says fossil expert”

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Where science is just like a movie set

It’s another great moment in science leaving beleaguered teenagers wondering if their kids will be shorter than them. Perhaps if  they can buy an EV, they wonder, Johnny will be as tall as his dad?

Or maybe the journalist could have said “in five million years” because that’s the kind of time-frame this scientist is talking in:

Nicola Davis, The Guardian

The climate crisis may lead the human race to shrink in size, as mammals with smaller frames appear better able to deal with rising global temperatures, a leading fossil expert has said.

Let’s make that “in five million years without air-conditioning”. Because the whole story applies to humans living au naturel, like Eocene Horsies did.

Prof Steve Brusatte, a palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh, suggested that the way in which other mammals have previously responded to periods of climate change could offer an insight into humans’ future.

He likened the potential plight of people as similar to that of early horses, which became smaller in body size as temperatures rose around 55m years ago, a period called the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum.

If only solar panels had been around to save Eohippus from shrinking eh?

But it takes about three minutes research to find out the tallest humans don’t live in Iceland, but in Rwanda, Sudan, North America, or  Bosnia, or probably wherever the best damn steaks are the easiest to catch. Apart from genes, Human height is largely due to protein intake, so if everyone goes vegan, “to save the planet” climate change will definitely make humans shrink.

Brusatte’s reasoning is essentially to ignore that air-conditioning neutralizes natural-selection-by-temperature, to talk about 50 million year old horses, and quote a Nature paper on environmental variables that predict human body size in the last million years. But the Nature paper doesn’t measure or even mention dietary protein. It’s another rabbit-hole-to-nowhere by academic specialists who didn’t pick up the phone find someone who knew as much as a well-read blogger.

Every time we spent tax dollars to find a crisis, instead of finding the truth, we ruin science a little bit more.

Save Science. Stop Government Funding Now!

Movie poster: The Incredible Shrinking Man.

10 out of 10 based on 50 ratings

35 comments to 3,2,1, Panic: Climate change could make humans shrink

  • #
    DOC

    Well they could be right and very soon. The cost of everything but especially food is skyrocketing. The cost of housing and electricity similarly. That has a myriad of possible effects on so much that people need and do. Food itself is effected in price by everything currently happening, but for the next couple of years at least, it may well be in short supply. All we need then are bad seasons. The USA has infant food problems. Can’t say this is a permanent problem, but there is enough bad news around to see a stunting of growth of kids due to deprivation for a few years.

    110

    • #
      PeterW

      Keep in mind that the cost of food, fuel and electricity is being driven up by politics, not any real change in climate.

      I type this, sitting by my wood fire on a bleak winter morning, contemplating beef for breakfast….. partly because only meat has the full range of complete essential proteins.

      Peter

      100

  • #
    Honk R Smith

    Climate change appears to be making people dumber.
    Especially people in academia and journalism.

    300

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    Love it! 🙂

    “Save Science. Stop Government Funding Now!”

    In so many areas of life, that striving to overcome has been of great benefit in removing “inefficiencies” and guiding us away from going down “dead ends”.

    Government “benevolence” has removed the need or incentive to strive and as a result humanity is now stuck in far too many dead ends with no easy way out. The current theme that we could fix all this “if only we had bigger research grants” needs to be turned around.

    Let’s be Thrifty.

    150

  • #
    Contemptible B

    And Dinosaurs existed when Co2 was how many parts per million?

    170

  • #
    Ian Hill

    I remember seeing the movie “The Incredible Shrinking Man” when I was about 12. It was a weather event which caused the man to start shrinking, some sort of fog from memory. If anyone is inclined to watch it, it may be wise to watch the second Harry Potter movie first. I’ve never forgotten how it ended!

    [Off topic at #5.]AD

    20

  • #
    Simo

    What was the name of the fossil “expert” again? Just a troll playing their part in another episode wackademia’s “Would I lie to you”

    10

  • #
    Jonesy

    The only thing stunted in this story is the brains of the grafters who took the money for this shody work.

    140

  • #
    Serge Wright

    You could easily test this theory by comparing people’s height in different temperature zones. People living in Darwin should already be pygmies.

    170

  • #
    Graham Richards

    Too damn late. The shrinkage has already started in the most vulnerable part of most humans. The brain. Look what’s happening to the world around you. We’ve finally discovered the cause of the dystopia of the last 10 years.

    140

  • #
    b.nice

    I know cold weather makes parts of me shrink.. but in hot weather , down the beach….

    60

  • #

    Ask the Norks. They know how to shrink people – The North Korean Govt that is.

    40

  • #
    DLK

    well, at least the Guardian got a counter-opinion: “However, not all experts agree that rising temperature causes mammals to shrink…”

    60

  • #
    Jack01

    The leftist climate cult somehow makes itself more ridiculous each day with the claims they make – their “research”. And they never seem be held to account even if proven completely wrong. That’s why people like Tim Flannery still have their job.

    120

    • #
      Bruce

      As Voltaire noted:

      “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”.

      Fair call.

      100

  • #
    Aussie Pete

    We will never know because we’ll all be dead within 8 years or is it 12? I’ll have to check that with the future King of England.

    130

    • #
      PeterPetrum

      The future British King, or the King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There has been no such thing as an English King since the Union of the Crowns (melding the English and Scottish thrones) when James VI of Scotland (Mary Queen of Scot’s’ son) became the King of Great Britain (the largest of the British Isles) and it has been thus since. I repeat, there is no such thing as King of England today, any more than there is a King of Scotland. England is only one country in the United Kingdom.

      20

  • #
    Honk R Smith

    I guess it’s easy to make jokes, but that poor academic likely just needed to force the CC word into his work to get money and attention.
    Sad really, how so many institutions have just abandoned integrity.
    The media has been lipsticking the pig for a long time.
    It is weird how the Trump phenomenon seems to have brought it all to the surface.
    Here in America, the US Congress is going into nationally televised Jan. 6th hearings … while inflation rages and the average person is getting scared about feeding their families.
    Scott Adams called it the ‘long TDS hearings’.

    50

  • #
    Vlad the Impaler

    Well, I do not know about any one else, but I could use a little shrinkage … … …

    Oh, wait … … … … …

    They’re talking vertically … … …

    Never mind … … …

    70

  • #

    A few things-

    tallest is not the same as biggest. Plus you are ignoring your own argument about airconditioning – there are heaters and warm clothes available to Icelanders,

    It’s another rabbit-hole-to-nowhere by academic specialists who didn’t pick up the phone find someone who knew as much as a well-read blogger.

    Did you investigate what the Academic specialist wrote in his book or is it just this article you are using. The scientist does not get to choose which words are published. The article itself does exactly as you wish and explores different opinions.

    04

    • #
      b.nice

      Does Gee actually “believe” this nonsense….. almost certainly. !

      Gullible little mind.

      10

  • #
    Ben Ing

    The majority of all journals are owned and published by 5 corporations there is little doubt the scientific narrative has been corrupted and shaped to serve a profitable agenda. The editorial selection process is merely used to marginalise non mainstream studies and exclude papers that don’t corroborate the narrative or provide obscurants of useless misinformation. There is rot within the review process and the peers are no longer in control. The past decade has been a controlled selective publication of referenced malignant literature with deliberate exclusion and or debasement of evidence to the contrary.

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0127502

    https://www.sciencealert.com/these-five-companies-control-more-than-half-of-academic-publishing

    https://tidsskriftet.no/en/2020/08/kronikk/money-behind-academic-publishing#:~:text=Huge%20profits,-The%20academic%20publishing&text=The%20market%20is%20largely%20dominated,more%20than%203000%20academic%20journals.

    50

  • #
    Graeme No.3

    Embolotherium (Eocene about 2.5 metres at shoulder)
    Uintatherium (Eocene about 4 metres long and 2 tons)
    Entelodont (late Eocene into Miocene (about 4 metres long and a ton in weight – the Hell Pig Arsinoitherium (late Eocene, about 3.5 metres long and was about the size of a large rhinoceros)
    Brontops robustus (American late Eocene to Miocene) The largest mammals were the huge Brontotheridæ, which lived in great numbers on the eastern flanks of the Rocky Mountains, and were entombed in the fresh-water lakes of that region. They were larger than the Dinocerata of the Eocene, and nearly equalled in size the existing Elephant.
    Chalicotherium (Miocene about 2.8 metres at shoulder) look up the image if you want a laugh.

    00

  • #

    Global Warming will make Eskimos shrink to the size of Black Africans?

    I believe the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum helps to prove the pressure induced greenhouse theory. I heard that Volcanic activity during the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum was 200 times the background rate of degassing for the rest of the Paleocene, so the Earth’s atmospheric pressure must have gone up to about 5 bar pressure: http://pubsapp.acs.org/subscribe/archive/ci/30/i12/html/12learn.html. Its also why the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator during the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum was less than 17 Kelvin. Bubbles in Fossilised Amber go up to 10 bar and Planetary Chemistry says it could have been up to 100 bar pressure. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0909/0909.4050.pdf

    00

  • #

    “could”…. if…

    i think it is the contrary…
    the seas are rising quickly.. so short people will drown..obviously.. at least at the sea.. where all people will gathered in order to cool a little bit..

    20

  • #
    crakar24

    Get out, get out you demons of stupidity

    10

  • #
    Dennis

    So dwarf throwing competitors will have to be handicapped in some way?

    30

  • #
    Zane

    Climate change has certainly caused brains to shrink, particularly it would seem in Teal electorates.

    50

  • #
    Gerry, England

    Missing from the Guardian’s drivel and the paper is this:

    ‘However, not all experts agree that rising temperature causes mammals to shrink. Prof Adrian Lister, of the Natural History Museum in London, said the relationship shown by the recent human remains study is weak, while the strong correlations between temperature and mammal body size may often be down to the availability of food and resources.

    Lister is also sceptical that humans will shrink as the climate heats. “We are not really controlled by natural selection,” he said. “If that was going to happen, you’d need to find large people dying before they could reproduce because of climate warming. That is not happening in today’s world. We wear clothes, we have got heating, we have got air conditioning if it is too hot.”

    The paper’s authors were funded by the European Research Council for two of them, and the third by the Antarctic Science Platform(!!! – no, me neither). Be interesting to know where their money comes from.

    And Steve Brusatte seems to be a dinosaur specialist and so a bit off his specialist subject.

    20

  • #
  • #
    CHRIS

    The latest warming period started after the LIA, about 350 years ago. The influence of CO2 on climate change (if it were to be believed) started about 150 years ago. Homo Sapiens have been around for over 2 million years. Anyone who thinks that a few hundred years of AGW is going to directly affect human evolution (which is still continuing) is off with the fairies.

    10

  • #
    Neil

    It’s a pathetic argument – what about the (now extinct) megafauna and also the oceans with their huge whales, sharks etc. and are all elephants from here on going to be pygmies?
    The Other Neil.

    00