We’re still depressed over so many frogs succumbing to a fungus (or something). Now, confound it, comes news that many species of lizard are lounging themselves to death. This is no joke. In today’s issue of the journal Science a team of lizard specialists declares that a wave of extinction is sweeping them from the world, mainly at hotter latitudes that have been getting still hotter. They don’t cook to death. But they now must spend so much time sheltering in the shade rather than dashing about in the hot sun getting food that they’re not getting enough to eat. Sometimes even the shade’s so hot they can hardly move. Reproduction rates are therefore well below what they need to remain among us. Some move to higher altitudes. But those living atop hills and mountains have nowhere to go.
Most people, even those who rare back or say eek! on seeing lizards, like the creatures. They aren’t slimy like salamanders, don’t (usually) bite or wriggle creepily like some snakes, and many of them look sort of cute doing pushups on a rock or fence. Many of them eat insects, including flies. Few people like flies.
So, evidence suggesting that a changing climate is baking many of these familiar creatures into a stupor and then oblivion is a natural for reporters and their editors. Plus, my goodness, AAAS guided reporters to a press teleconference, posted transcripts, video and podcast of it, and accompanied its own press release (in seven languages) with others from three US universities and a research program in Spain. The story was hard to miss. A herd gathered.
- San Francisco Chronicle – David Perlman: Lizards facing extinction ; This is in part a local story for Perlman, with the lead author at UC Santa Cruz just an hour or so away. He doesn’t write the heds – and this one is too sweeping. Story says, in line with the research, that perhaps one in five lizard species will be gone by 2080 or so. One in 25 have already exited, it says here. And speaking of heds, Perlman salutes the one on Science‘s own commentary on the study: “Are Lizards Toast?” Also good here: an explanation of how computer models and real-world data work together.
- NPR – Christopher Joyce: Lizards Croak, Global Warming’s to Blame ;
- BBC – Victoria Gill: Climate change link to lizard extinction ; In Mexico, she says right under the lede, 12 percent of lizard species are now gone. But, she adds, many experts want to see more data and analysis before they embrace the conclusion on the cause.
- USA Today – Doyle Rice: Study: Climate change puts world’s lizards at risk ;
- AP – Randolph E. Schmid: Rising global temperatures cooking lots of lizards ;
- Reuters – Mica Rosenberg: Lizards face extinction from global warming: study;
- Los Angeles Times – Thomas H. Maugh II: Lizards face extinction because of global warming, study finds ;
- NYTimes (blog) Leslie Kaufman: Warming Imperils Lizards, Scientists Warn ;
- Time Magazine – Michael Lemonick: Study: Global Warming is Driving Lizards to Extinction; A longer view, essay quality here . Lemonick seems convinced – he calls the research “meticulous.”
- National Geographic News – Ker Than: Mass Lizard Extinctions Looming: Global Warming Blamed ; Nice job – but the hed should’a used the word “underway” rather than “looming.” Than uses a scary quote. A source tells him that pollinating insects may be next. Hmmm – colony collapse disorder, anyone?
- Salt Lake Tribune – Brian Maffly: Research team cites global warming in lizard die-off ; Nice enough job. In fact, quite thorough. But just because a scientist likens the lizards to canaries in coal mines is no reason to afflict readers with that groaner. The kicker closes the story on just the right note.
- Deseret News – Sara Israelsen-Hartley: Global warming leading to lizard extinction, BYU professor says; The Salt Lake air must touch off a fondness for cliches. Again, decent job – but we didn’t really need to learn that the lizard’s fix may be compared to an iceberg’s tip. Plus, the metaphor doesn’t evoke heat.
- ScienceNews – Susan Milius: Lizard threatened by warming ; She finds very much the same kicker as did the man at the Salt Lake Tribune.
- AAAS ScienceNOW – Michael Price: Climate Change Causing Lizards to ‘Wink Out of Existence’ ;
- Columbus Dispatch: Spencer Hunt: Lizards latest on global warming’s hit list ; Hunt has a local man among the authors. He localizes the piece in other ways too. This also is, so far, the best hed I’ve found.
- San Jose Mercury News (via Santa Crus Sentinel) – Lisa Krieger: Lizards driven to extinction due to global climate change ;
- Independent (UK) Steve Connor: Lizards are dying out because of climate change, study says.
- Telegraph – Richard Alleyne: Lizards facing extinction because of climate change ;
- Guardian – Celia Cole: Global warming may kill of fifth of global lizard species by 2080: study ; Climategate, judging by Brit press reports here, has not sent reporters scurrying for the shade. Nobody that Isaw called up any warming scoffers for their lizard-wise opinions.
- MoneyTimes (India) Neka Sehgal: Lizards may face extinction due to climate change ;
- ThaiIndian News : This outlet files the story twice, from different reporters, each with distinctive style. Madhuri Dey: World’s Too Hot for Lizards to Handle ; Aishwarya Bhatt: Heat is driving lizard to extinction ;
- I must have missed a few good ones. Let us know if so….
Meanwhile, from the parallel universe wing of the blogosphere:
- Secondhand Smoke – Wesley J. Smith: Global Warming Hysteria: The Lizards Are All Going to Die! : Here it is – evidence for “an unelected international scientific scientocracy” determined to destroy our economies and control how we live. But the cartoon? – that is a good one.
Grist for the Mill:
Science Mag article abstract ; AAAS Press Release ; UC Santa Cruz Press Release ; Brigham Young U. Press Release ; Villanova U. Press Release ; in Spanish, CSIC (Greater Council on Scientific Investigation) Press Release ;