Freshly Baked Science

Animals Want To Rock & Roll All Night

15th June 2018

There was once a time when all mammals were nocturnal. Dinosaurs would be awake during the day and posed a threat to mammals, so they adapted to hide (sleep) during the day when the dinosaurs were roaming. Humans are now just as threatening to animals as the dinosaurs were, so animals are slowly becoming more active at night!

 

In areas of Tanzania with small populations, just 17% of lion activity is at night, compared to 80% in areas with high human populations! Animals are starting to struggle to find areas where they won’t come across any humans, so to avoid this issue with space, they are starting to keep away from humans by time!

 

Planet Earth is slowly becoming a time-share, with humans taking the day and animals taking the night, which may not be a bad thing. Although this avoids the animals coming across people, it may put them at a higher risk of being killed by predators. For example, an antelope will usually avoid the watering hole at night as lions may be there. With humans stopping them from visiting the watering hole during the day, they are more likely to be hunted by lions at night.

 

Luckily, mammals have kept some of their traits from when they were nocturnal to help them live in the dark. They are also likely to start evolving more traits to help them adapt even more, including night vision. 

 

Can you think of a reason why these adaptations may not be needed in some areas?

 

In areas highly populated with people, there is a lot of light pollution. This means that the nature of night is changing, with artificial light brightening the darkness and making night vision an unnecessary feature. 

 

What do you think of this change in animal behaviour? Tweet us @magazinewonk!

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