photo via flickr
They may be the last creatures that one would think would be affected by rising global temperatures, but a new study finds that lizards are threatened, and many species may go extinct, if current warming trends continue. The study appears in the journal Science, and it's yet another reminder that there will be unexpected consequences to global climate change. The study contrasts populations of 48 Mexican lizard species at 200 sites with numbers of those populations collected in 1975. It finds that they had declined a stunning 12 percent.
Barry Sinervo of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, tells the AP why:
"The results were clear. These lizards need to bask in the sun to warm up, but if it gets too hot they have to retreat into the shade, and then they can't hunt for food..." "This is just the tip of the iceberg. It heralds that we have entered a new age, the age of climate-forced extinctions. Extinctions are not in the future. They are happening now.
It's unclear how this will affect food chains. Lizards, of course, are eaten by birds and snakes and they eat insects.
The Science article is accompanied by an editorial from the scientists behind the study, who say that "extinctions are not only in the future, but are happening now."