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Animal Habits Changed by Global Warming

Some species of birds have been flying in the same migration patterns for hundreds of thousands of years. Some fish and butterflies follow ancient migratory paths. Now biologists are finding changes in these ancient routes and resting places, due to warmer temperatures on Earth. And many animals are migrating earlier than they did a few decades ago.

Camille Parmesan of the University of Texas analyzed more than 1,700 species and found "significant" changes in range towards the poles of almost 4 miles per decade. Spring events, such as the arrival of migrant species and the laying of eggs, are happening almost 3 days earlier each decade.

In another study, Terry Root of Stanford University found temperature-related changes in the behavior of a range of species. Not every animal has changed its migration habits, but enough of them have to make this a trend. Animals are leaving earlier and ending up in different places. The changes are greatest at high altitudes, where the largest temperature changes are predicted.

There have been studies showing that animals, from rats to dogs, can sense an earthquake before we do. Now it looks like animals are predicting climate change as well.

We should listen to the animals around us?they can tell us a lot about what?s really going on.

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