Monday, June 4, 2007

Tuatara faces extinction

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...New Zealand's last survivor of the dinosaur age may become extinct due to global warming.

Mounted with spiny scales from head to tail and covered by rough, grey skin that disguises them among the trees, the tuatara is one of the world's oldest living creatures.

But the lizard-like reptile is facing increasing risk of extinction from global warming because of its dependency on the surrounding temperature which determines the sexes of unborn young while still in their eggs.

The sex of a tuatara depends on the temperature of the soil where the eggs are laid. A cooler temperature produces females, while a warmer soil temperature results in male offsprings.

Already male tuatara on a tiny predator-free island near the top of New Zealand's South Island outnumber females by 1.7 times, Moore explained.

"There is a possibility that they will be able to adapt but I think the problem is that temperatures may rise so quickly they won't have time."

Source : DailyMail




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