For years, many scientists believed the heat generated by buildings and roads made mammals living near cities get smaller. Yet, NSF-funded researchers proposed that cities provide shelter, readily-available food sources, and have fewer predators; having city-dwelling mammals growing larger than rural breeds. Learn more with NSF's "The Discovery Files."
Credit: National Science Foundation
Hi! I'm Mo Barrow with The Discovery Files, from NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.
A new study shows coyotes might be bigger, since they started hanging out around cities.
For years, many scientists believed the heat generated by buildings and roads made mammals living near cities get smaller.
Yet, NSF-funded researchers at the Florida Museum of Natural History discovered the opposite may be true, that city-dwelling mammals grow larger than rural breeds.
The team examined how climate and human population impact mammal size and learned many urban mammals tend to grow larger, despite warmer temperatures.
The researchers proposed that cities provide shelter, readily available food sources, and have fewer predators, each creating a potentially better outcome for certain mammal species.
It's important to know how mammals lived before, and since, humans began dominating their natural landscapes. The study explores the impact of urbanization.
Perhaps that coyote is saying, "Thanks for the research!"
Discover how the U.S. National Science Foundation is advancing research at nsf.gov.
"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.
Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation.
Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.