Based on the massive warming that occurred around 60 million years ago, scientists speculate that once again reptiles could grow to the size of busses.
As is often the case with news about the effects of climate change, this pair of predictions falls into the categories of bad news and worse news.
The bad news is that reptiles, including all sorts of snakes, will likely grow to massive proportions.
Even worse is that at the same time mammals will shrink significantly.
That’s what happened around 50 to 60 million years ago, anyway.
Looking back upon the effects of one of the most significant known cases of warming, scientists have begun to speculate that is where the world is headed once again.
In those days, horses weren’t much bigger than a breadbox and snakes were longer than busses.
The increased temperatures that allow cold-blooded species to flourish have the opposite effect on warm-blooded ones.
While snakes and lizards enjoy 90-plus degree Fahrenheit environments, only small mammals have a good chance of surviving them due to decreases in food supply and difficulties regulating body temperatures.
Not only do reptiles get bigger, some of them get smarter. Tests on certain lizards have shown that warmer incubation conditions resulted in hatchlings with an increased aptitude for learning, suggesting a warmer climate could help their wild counterparts become smarter.