Saturday, 12 April 2008

Climate Change and Evolution - The Amazônia

During a virtual safari visitors of the Futuroscope in Poitiers (France) can learn about future animals. An exposition shows how the fauna of our planet will be over some million years.

It is not likely that anyone of us will have the pleasure to experience the changes and meet the future animals personally, but it is a good thing to know how our fauna will evolve taking into account our destructive way-of-life.
The exposition is a result of scientific studies and projections with regards to the influence of climate change and future landslides. The sketched environment and the animals are the results of a theory developed by British scientists, who studied the geological movements of the earth, the climate and the capacity of the fauna to adapt itself towards its new habitat.

As I live in the delta of the Amazônia I restrict this overview to the “evolution” of the Amazônia fauna referring to the pictures (from top to bottom), whereas, as far as, known the “ancestor” is situated aside of the “evolved” descendant.

The “Baboukari” is the descendant of the “White Uacari Monkey with the Red Face” (Cacajo calvus), which, according to researchers can only be found in the Amazônia reservation Mamirauá. Little is known about the Uacari, except that it is already close to extinction. In the theory of the future the “baboukari” will not live in trees any longer as there will be no more trees in the Amazônia. The baboukari will use their tail, not for balancing between branches, but to communicate with each other in the high vegetation of the savannah like habitat, which is the future of the Amazônia region.

The “Tortunossauro” evolves from the Giant Tortoise (Podocnemis expansa). In 100 million years this tortoise will be the largest land animal with a height of 7 meters. Largest than the dinosaur, he will weigh some 120 metric tons, 40 times an elephant. Without having to face a predator he will loose the better part of his shell.
The present Amazônia tortoise is a nocturnal animal, living in groups and able to live up to a 100 years. He feeds with plants and fish, is a freshwater animal, located in the Amazônia River and its estuaries. Adults can reach 80 cm in length and 60 cm in width, weighing up to 60 kg.

Although the descendant of this rodent, the capivara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris), has a more densely covered skin, the "cuirasson" will have a densely covered shell with callous spines, like a porcupine.
The capivara is world’s largest rodent. It adores to bath in the river and may stay there for hours with just its snout above the water surface. A docile herbivore with a length of 1 meter. Its meat is much appreciated by the native inhabitants of the Amazônia and thus consumed lavishly.

This future terrestrial bird seems to have been evolved from the turkey or the ostrich. Thanks to its sturdy legs it will be one of the fastest predators of the Amazônia. It will find his food on the ground and uses its wings just to balance during a run similar as to ostriches.

The “Large Blue Glider” will live on the mountaintops. As it is in the air most of its time the evolution has given it two pairs of wings with 15 meter wingspread. To be protected against the sun, the feathers are metal blue to reflect the sun rays.

It is a pity really that the exposition does not show a projection of the future human being. Probably he already has cooked his goose and belongs as so many animals to the extinct species.

BBC Photogalery
source: IG/BBC Brasil

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