In DepthEvolution

Will warming make animals darker—or lighter?

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Science  08 Jan 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6525, pp. 115
DOI: 10.1126/science.371.6525.115

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Summary

Will animals grow lighter or darker on average in a warming world? A 19th century claim has fueled a 21st century debate about how a warming climate might reshape animal bodies. In particular, scientists are debating Gloger's rule, named after an obscure German scientist, Constantin Gloger. Traditionally, Gloger's rule stated that hotter climates led to darker colored animals. In a warming world, animals should therefore get darker. But several scientists challenge that idea, arguing that Gloger's rule conflates temperature and humidity. And if you control for humidity, they say, animals actually get lighter in warm climates, especially cold-blooded animals. The debate remains largely theoretical for now, but sadly, as the climate warms, scientists might soon have more data on this topic than they can handle.

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