Melbourne: Australian birds have shrunk over the past century because of global warming, scientists have found. A similar shrinking effect was recently documented in Scottish sheep.

Using museum specimens, researchers measured the size of eight bird species and discovered they were getting smaller in an apparent response to climate change.

The Swiss authorities on Friday defended granting permission for the hunting of three wolves that have killed dozens of sheep after fierce criticism from environmentalists.

Another clue has been found in the Case of the Shrinking Sheep, an animal mystery in which climate change features as the principal cause.

The tale of scientific sleuthing is unfolding on two Scottish islands, Soay and Hirta, in the remote Outer Hebrides.

Their sole inhabitants are wild sheep which probably arrived there with the first human settlers some 4,000 years ago.

The mystery of Scotland

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?

Milder Winters Cause An Average Member Of Scottish Herds To Shed Weight By 81 Grams A Year

Washington: Like the wool sweater that emerges from the dryer a size too small, global warming seems to be shrinking sheep.

David Adam

The mysterious shrinking sheep on the island of St Kilda far off the west coast of Scotland, sounds like a job for Sherlock Holmes. A rare herd of wild Soay sheep on the remote island are refusing to bow to conventional evolutionary pressure, which says big is best. Scientists have fingered the culprit as the new Moriarty of mankind: global warming.

AVERAGE BODY SIZE HAS DECREASED 5%
Sheep in Britain are shrinking due to effects of climate change, according to latest research. The mysterious decrease in size of wild sheep on the Scottish island of Hirta, first reported by scientists in 2007, has been attributed to milder winters caused by climate change

Wild sheep on a remote Scottish island are shrinking, and scientists blame global warming.

Soay sheep are on average 5 percent smaller than 25 years ago, an indication climate change can have a rapid effect on natural populations and a sign of possible more widespread changes in future, researchers said on Thursday.

Milder winters are causing Scotland's wild breed of Soay sheep to get smaller, despite the evolutionary benefits of possessing a large body, according to the research conducted by researchers of Imperial college London.

The study is published in Science Express ( 2 July 2009 edi.):
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/1173668/DC1/1

The Indian Fox is a widespread animal of arid and semi-arid areas, especially partial to grasslands. It is mostly crepuscular and nocturnal in habit and rarely wanders around during the day.

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