Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprising Link Between Body Size And Extinction Risk

Date:
September 24, 2001
Source:
Society For Conservation Biology
Summary:
Most of the Australian mammals that have gone extinct in the last 200 years were medium sized, and many biologists believe that this somehow predisposed them to extinction. New research debunks this belief and reveals another link between body size and extinction: small mammals are less likely to die out.

Most of the Australian mammals that have gone extinct in the last 200 years were medium sized, and many biologists believe that this somehow predisposed them to extinction. New research debunks this belief and reveals another link between body size and extinction: small mammals are less likely to die out.

This work is presented in the October issue of Conservation Biology by Marcel Cardillo and Lindell Bromham, who did this work at the University of Queensland, Australia, and are now at the University of Sussex, UK.

Nearly half of all the mammals that have gone extinct worldwide in the last 200 years were Australian, and most of them were medium-sized (1.2 ounces - 12 pounds). Biologists theorized that Australian mammals in this so-called "Critical Weight Range" were more prone to extinction. While this theory has been widely accepted, it had not been tested rigorously.

To test this theory, Cardillo and Bromham did the first statistical analysis of weight and extinction risk in Australian mammals. The researchers considered 25 extinct and 16 endangered species.

Cardillo and Bromham discovered that the medium-sized mammals were not at greater risk of extinction. So why are most of Australia's extinct mammals medium-sized? The answer is simple: most of Australia's mammals happen to be medium- sized.

The researchers also found a new link between size and extinction risk: the smallest mammal species are the least vulnerable to extinction. Many Australian rodents weigh less than an ounce and some marsupials weigh less than a third of an ounce. Cardillo and Bromham speculate that these small species are more robust because they have high population densities and reproductive rates, which means they can recover quickly.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society For Conservation Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society For Conservation Biology. "Surprising Link Between Body Size And Extinction Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010924062625.htm>.
Society For Conservation Biology. (2001, September 24). Surprising Link Between Body Size And Extinction Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010924062625.htm
Society For Conservation Biology. "Surprising Link Between Body Size And Extinction Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010924062625.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins