The skulls of Moose

A team of scientists at Michigan Technological University made an analysis on the moose living in the Isle Royale National Park. They founded that the skulls of moose surviving there are being shrunk, their heads are getting smaller. They have examined 662 skulls and the result is, skulls’ size has been declined by 16 percent over the last four decades. Scientists also have checked out the species population at different location i.e. northern Minnesota where the moose population got halved over the last twelve years. The team also defined that the main cause of such physical changes in species is climatic conditions.

The skulls of moose in Isle Royale National Park are shrinking

Sarah Hoy, a team member, said that “The climatic conditions you are born into decides how long will you live and how big you will be. We are having evidence proposing the warmer winter that moose are experiencing due to which they are unable to live longer.” Another significant reason is, due to a warmer climate, the white-tail deer population is increasing which carry and spread and fatal brain worm parasite.

The researchers think that warmer temperature is the principal reason and affecting the species badly. The moose population in Isle Royale National Park is increasing even after the similar warmer temperature as that of northern Minnesota as the park is free of white-tail deer. But, the moose age is getting shorter and their heads and body are shrinking.

The Wolves, the moose’s primary predator are almost finished while the moose population increased three times over the last decade. Apart from the success of increasing population, there is a failure of warmer winter temperatures that are impacting the species. John Vucetich, a professor of ecology at Michigan Technological University said that “We have analyzed numerous moose and decreasing skull size may be an early indicator of population change.”

1 COMMENT

  1. This phenomenon has been well documented in other locations. Large mammals stranded on islands tend to get smaller due to over abundance and limited resources. This even happened to wooly mammoths that lived on islands (look up pigmy mammoths). When you add in the fact that moose are not native to Isle Royale (they were introduced by humans) and therefore are unable to immigrate and emigrate, this should come as no surprise.

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