Animal Adaptations DECLAN O'LEARY and Eric Yamaguchi

Why are adaptations important?

An adaptations is a change in a living organism's behavior or physical attribute based off of the climate around them. IT can also be a change in behavior or a change in an animal. Adaptations are important because without evolution and adaptations, many organisms would be extinct because of earth's climate change, which would negatively affect the food chain and the world's ecosystem. Adapting also include humans as well. Many adaptations we can do are to save coastal cities from the rising sea levels. If we don't adapt soon, Boston and many other coastal cities that are affected by the melting of the poles will soon be flooded.

What do we know about adaptations?

We know about global warming, and we know that because of the greenhouse effect, the sea levels are slowly rising and the the coastal cities need to adapting. We also know that adaptation and evolution is a very long process, taking thousands of years. We also know that if we don't adapt soon, Boston as well as other coastal cities affected by the melting of the poles will be flooded.

What is still unknown about human adaptations?

We still don't know how long we have until our coastal cities will be flooded, how much the sea levels will rise, and how long it takes for us to adapt. Also, many scientists don’t know exactly how long it takes for an organism to adapt or how much they could possibly adapt over a certain amount of time. For example, we don't know how fast animals including us can adapt to the earth's steadily rising temperature and rising sea levels.

Various adaptations that could protect Boston from rising sea levels

A Seawall

As ice in the poles melt, sea levels rise. One possible way of combatting this is building a sea wall, as shown in this picture. This wall would act like a dam, allowing a small amount of water in. However, it would be a very expensive investment however.

Raising Harborwalks / Sidewalks by beaches

Another idea is to raise harbor walks / sidewalks by beaches and adding tidal landscaping. This would not completely prevent sea levels from rising into Boston, but would give another barrier and make less water be able to get into Boston. This would reduce the chances of flooding. This image is an artist's imagination of what it would look like.


Another example is canals. This is a very popular idea, as there are many ways to get rid of water with this. One such way is the soft edge of the canal. This would get the water into the soil and create nutrient rich plants, which would transpire the water. Another example of why this could be helpful is transportation. There is a new form of transportation being developed that has been introduced by MBTA called the MorriSEA Parkway, which is a form of amphibious transportation.

Various Global Warming Animal Adaptations

Sleeping All day

In order to avoid the heat of day, many animals sleep all day and are most active during cooler twilight hours or at night (Nocturnal animals). Examples of these include bobcats, hyenas, and coyotes.

This picture is of a hyena, who are night predators who are most active in the twilight hours.

Going Underground

A good way of avoiding heat is going underground. This keeps animals out of the sun, and the temperatures underground lower than the temperatures above ground. Examples include kangaroo rats and other desert rodents.

This picture is of a Kangaroo rat, a desert rodent who burrows.

Higher Tolerance

Some animals simply adapt to extreme temperatures by having a higher tolerance. For example, the antelope squirrel can tolerate body temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which is equivalent to a bad human fever.

This picture is of antelope squirrel, who have a higher tolerance to heat and can tolerate body temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Releasing Heat

Many animals have adapted to better get rid of heat / get heat off of their bodies. One example of this is birds; many birds can decrease the insulation given by their feathers. Some animals, like jackrabbits, have long body parts that provide the benefits of having a high surface area : volume ratio to keep them cool.

This is an image of a desert bird, which can increase/decrease the amount of insulation given to them by their feathers.


Too avoid the worst of the extreme temperatures, many animals lower their body temperature and heart rate, entering an almost dormant state. They will stay this way for many months, remaining inactive until the brunt of the temperature has gone. Examples of hibernating animals include bears, badgers, bats, chipmunks, and frogs. Examples of estivating animals include snails, crocodiles, hedgehogs, tortoises, and various different birds.

This image is of a brown bear, who hibernate during the winter.

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