A leopard wanders Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India.
(Naval Khanolkar/World Press Photo via AP)
The list of ways in which people change the planet continues to grow: the Animals are becoming more night, possibly as a means of avoiding the superpredators we have become, according to a new study.
The meta-anaylsis of 76 studies on 62 species of mammals, spread over six continents, published in the journal Science, mammals were found less active during the daytime hours and are more active at night when the people in the neighborhood, regardless of whether the people were threatening or not, reports the Guardian.
Study author Kaitlyn Gaynor of the University of California, Berkeley, draws a comparison between the humans and the dinosaurs, which suggests it was only after the dinosaurs’ extinction that mammals arose from the dark.
“People are now ubiquitous terrifying force on the planet, and we drive all other mammals back in the night-time,” she says. Evidence suggests that this is the case with California’s coyotes, brown bears in Alaska, leopards in Gabon, tigers in Nepal, and bears in Poland, per Scientific American , and Outside.
On average, the mammals were 1.36 times more nocturnal in response to human activity, which means that an animal that has historically split its running time between night and day now spends 68% of the active time in the night.
“That is remarkable,” says Gaynor. Outside point it is not all downside: This can lead to fewer attacks on people and less transmission of the disease. But the change can also transform entire ecosystems, with Gaynor giving the example of coyotes in California to shift the food from the squirrels and birds, the animals active at night, such as mice and rabbits.
(Why 25% of mammals commit infanticide.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Mammals Goes Nightly to Prevent Us