June 19th, 2010 by Zachary Shahan
Ancient lizards from the time of dinosaurs may go extinct due to climate change in the coming decades.
A 200-million-year-old lizard, the three-eyed Tuatara, may go extinct due to climate change, scientists warn. The problem is that climate change is reportedly turning the whole species into males.
“Soaring temperatures in the reptile’s native New Zealand are affecting the species as only male eggs hatch at a higher temperature,” Sideways News reports.
“Tuatara are ancient animals. Their ancestors were scurrying around the feet of dinosaurs. It would be a great shame to lose them,” Michael Kearney of the University of Melbourne says.
Maori women are forbidden from eating the lizard according to a report on traditional Kaitiakitanga rights and responsibilities by David Williams because the lizard is considered a messenger from Whiro, the god of death and disaster.
With climate change expected to raise temperatures 4 degrees Celsius by 2085, it is expected that only male eggs will be hatching at that point.
The Cook Strait tuatara, another lizard species, could also go extinct in this way from climate change. The only proposed solution by conservationists is to cool the nests by providing artificial shade.
Of course, many more species than this are expected to go extinct due to climate change, and it is a sad matter for all of them. Nonetheless, it is surely something to notice when a species from the age of the dinosaurs goes extinct due to human beings’ haphazard lifestyle.
Research on the tuatara lizard going extinct due to climate change was recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
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Image Credit: alumroot via flickr/CC license
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