Lizard that Outlived Dinosaurs May Go Extinct from Climate Change

Tuatara lizard from time of dinosaurs expected to go extinct due to climate change.


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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1) Scientists to Attempt Resurrection of Extinct Indian Cheetah
2) Global Warming Means Shorter Lives for Cold-Blooded Animals
3) World’s Biodiversity Loss Not Slowing, Major Analysis Finds [Video]

Image Credit: alumroot via flickr/CC license

3 thoughts on “Lizard that Outlived Dinosaurs May Go Extinct from Climate Change”

  1. Tuataras are not lizards. They are indeed squamates but they actually belong to a separate order known as Sphenodontia. They are the last of their kind with their nearest relatives existing 200 million years ago.

  2. It's heart breaking to know that an animal that has survived for 200 million year may go extinct due to our reckless treatment of the planet. When will we learn…

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