SANTA CRUZ, Calif., May 14 (UPI) — Twenty percent of all lizard species could be extinct by 2080 because of rising temperatures involved in climate change, a California researcher said.
Lizards worldwide are far more susceptible to climate-warming extinction than previously thought because many species already live at the edge of their thermal limits, said Barry Sinervo of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Sinervo and colleagues from around the world said they reached their conclusions after comparing field studies of lizards in Mexico to lizard studies from other countries.
Rising temperatures already have driven an estimated 12 percent of Mexico’s Sceloporus lizard population to extinction, the scientists wrote in a recent issue of the journal Science.
“We are actually seeing lowland species moving upward in elevation, slowly driving upland species extinct, and if the upland species can’t evolve fast enough then they’re going to continue to go extinct,” Sinervo said in a release from the university Thursday.
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