Tag Archives: reptiles

UA Study: Evolution Too Slow to Keep Up With Climate Change

A study led by a UA ecologist has found that many species evolve too slowly to adapt to the rapid climate change expected in the next 100 years.

Many vertebrate species would have to evolve about 10,000 times faster than they have in the past to adapt to the rapid climate change expected in the next 100 years, a study led by a University of Arizona ecologist has found.

Scientists analyzed how quickly species adapted to different climates in the past, using data from 540 living species from all major groups of terrestrial vertebrates, including amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. They then compared their rates of evolution to rates of climate change projected for the end of this century. This is the first study to compare past rates of adaption to future rates of climate change.  (more…)

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Blanket Bogs Need Protection from Climate Change

Blanket bogs, which provide vital habitats for a unique range of plants, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, are at risk of declining as a result of climate change.

Research by the Universities of Exeter and Bristol in the UK and Macquarie University in Australia, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows for the first time how rising temperatures will threaten these sensitive ecosystems.

The study highlights the urgency of developing a plan to protect these important habitats.

Found in wet, coastal areas of high latitude regions, blanket bogs cover around 700,000 hectares of land in the UK, much of it designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Blanket bogs are found in the north and west of the UK, extending from Devon in the south to Shetland in the north, and it has been estimated that 10 to15 per cent of the world’s blanket bog occurs in Britain. As well as being crucial in supporting wildlife, blanket bogs also capture and store large amounts of carbon, helping to mitigate against climate change, and reduce the risk of flooding, by slowing down water flow. With some blanket peat being over 9,000 years old, they also hold historically-significant archaeological material. (more…)

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Ancient Giant Turtle Fossil Revealed

Picture a turtle the size of a Smart car, with a shell large enough to double as a kiddie pool. Paleontologists from North Carolina State University have found just such a specimen – the fossilized remains of a 60-million-year-old South American giant that lived in what is now Colombia.

The turtle in question is Carbonemys cofrinii, which means “coal turtle,” and is part of a group of side-necked turtles known as pelomedusoides. The fossil was named Carbonemys because it was discovered in 2005 in a coal mine that was part of northern Colombia’s Cerrejon formation. The specimen’s skull measures 24 centimeters, roughly the size of a regulation NFL football. The shell which was recovered nearby – and is believed to belong to the same species – measures 172 centimeters, or about 5 feet 7 inches, long. That’s the same height as Edwin Cadena, the NC State doctoral student who discovered the fossil. (more…)

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Dinosaurs Significantly Taller than Previously Thought

COLUMBIA, Mo.– It might seem obvious that a dinosaur’s leg bone connects to the hip bone, but what came between the bones has been less obvious. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri and Ohio University have found that dinosaurs had thick layers of cartilage in their joints, which means they may have been considerably taller than previously thought. The study is being published this week in the journal PLoS-ONE (Public Library of Science). (more…)

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