sheep change colour

A few weeks ago I wrote about the moths in the UK that are now changing colour as a result of changes in their environment. The species that darkened in colour in response to the industrial revolution is now becoming lighter again – http://colourware.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/moths-change-colour-again/.

Today I came across a story about sheep changing colour; this time in response to global warming, apparently. According to Dr Maloney at the University of Western Australia,  in colder environments, mammals with darker coats absorb more solar radiation and so need to expend less food energy keeping warm than do their lighter counterparts. He has found fewer dark coloured Soay sheet over the last 20 years and links this to changing temperatures. H expects the proportion of dark sheep to decrease further over the coming years. His work was reported in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters but a summary is availale online at The Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5879613/Bye-bye-black-sheep—climate-change-making-sheep-change-colour.html.

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