City life can be incredibly stressful, and it appears humans aren’t the only urban inhabitants affected by the tension. According to a recent study, birds feel it, too.

City life can be incredibly stressful, and it appears humans aren’t the only urban inhabitants affected by the tension. According to a recent study, birds feel it, too. Researchers from Sweden’s Lund University recently examined avian siblings of the Parus Major species, more commonly known as great tits, and learned metropolitan living may be killing some of them ahead of their time. The city birds were found to have shorter telomeres, the DNA end caps that indicate biological age, than their rural counterparts. Abbreviated telomere length, which has been linked to reduced life expectancy, can occur as a result of both genetics and environment. As the birds studies were related, the researchers concluded that environmental stress was the most significant factor in increasing the urban birds’ risk of premature death. While the evidence backing the conclusion was supplied largely by blood analysis, photos taken of both a city and a country test subject very clearly illustrate the great toll stress can take in a very short time.

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