All over the world the news is breaking that on a rocky outpost 100 miles west of Scotland the sheep are shrinking. The island is called Hirta and the breed of sheep is Soay. They are the most primative domestic animal in Europe preserved unchanged from neolithic times. They are not farmed as the island is uninhabited but these sheep are regularly tested for all sorts of things and have been subjected to genetic based trials for years. The last one in 2003 investigated coat colour and the genetic traits that go with it.
The latest work has found these sheep are 3.3 ounces smaller on average than they were in 1985. This is thought to be because of climate change making the weather milder. They assume that because of this the smaller scrawnier animals survive to breed where as way back in 1985 when it was apparently a lot colder they died. There is also what they call the young mum effect where more lambs are surviving from first time mums and they are smaller. This too is because of the milder weather due to global warming.
As soon as any thing is suggested that indicates climate change it is world news. But it barely gets the scrutiny it deserves. The science is way wrong that blames livestock emissions for global warming and I suspect it is way wrong on this too. Global warming could be blamed for the sheep getting bigger or smaller, or even staying the same weight; you just have to manipulate the conclusion to fit what ever you find in the trial. If the sheep had been larger by 3.3 ounces it could indicate that because of the milder winters they could eat more and get bigger. That is what they say has happened to the size of human beings. As our food has improved we have become bigger in height and weight as a species. But these sheep are getting smaller because their food source is improving. Go figure! It seems global warming could be proved beyond doubt regardless of what the sheep did. It just needs someone to say it, the world press to print it and the foolish to believe it.
The sheep are smaller there is no doubt, and by saying it is due to climate change is a good way to get noticed by a media hungry for any news that proves global warming. It is also a good way for scientists to get research money from the hundreds of millions of dollars available around the world for any research that attempts to prove global warming. At the same time there is nothing available for any research that attempts to prove it is all a lie. There are also no funds available to prove livestock are not the culprits they say they are which are why we are trying to raise the money ourselves from farmer contributions.
Who wants a bet that the researchers working with the Soay sheep on that remote island of Hirta will now find themselves awash with cash for more research, now that their research is proving the globe is warming. I will never doubt the cleverness of our scientists again, the conclusion reached from this research on Hirta is pure genius.