AGW=dead lizards? Maybe it’s not the heat, but the handbags and herpetology aficionados?

I covered this story Mid May on WUWT.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/13/now-its-lizards-going-extinct-due-to-climate-change/

An email today asking if this is real science or just hype prompted me to do some research. First, below, the tragic story from the lizard specialist at BYU, whose rediscovery of some old field notes apparently was enough to touch off a firestorm of press coverage. My rebuttal, with citations, follows. – Anthony

BYU prof co-authors Science paper showing climate-induced lizard decline


Lizard researcher dusts off 30-year-old field notes that formed foundation of the study (note these links to news stories are provided by BYU in their press release, they seem quite happy to have the coverage -A)

PROVO, Utah – When Brigham Young University biology professor Jack Sites spent summers in the late 1970s collecting lizards in Mexico, he had no idea his field notes would one day help form the foundation for a worldwide study that attributes local lizard extinctions to climate change.

Sites is the senior author on the paper published in this week’s issue of Science. Led by Barry Sinervo, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study reports a global pattern of lizard die-offs in habitats unchanged except for rising temperatures.

The researchers surveyed lizard populations, studied the effects of rising temperatures on lizards, and used their findings to develop a predictive model of extinction risk. Their model accurately predicted specific locations on five continents (North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia) where previously studied lizard populations have already gone locally extinct. According to the model, if current trends continue, 20 percent of lizard species could go extinct by 2080.

The disappearance of lizard populations is likely to have repercussions up and down the food chain. Lizards are important prey for many birds, snakes, and other animals, and they are important predators of insects.

The study began when Sinervo noticed local lizard extinctions, one of which was among the lizards studied by Sites between 1977 and 1991.

“I had provided a baseline data set with precise localities where the lizards were common,” Sites explained. “But Mexican ecologists were going back every few years, and pretty soon the lizards were hard to find, and then they weren’t seeing any. These are protected areas, so the habitat’s still there. So you start to think there is something else going on.”

Using Sites’ field notes for comparison, Sinervo and collaborators resurveyed 48 species of spiny lizards (Sceloporus) at 200 sites in Mexico where the lizards had been studied between 1975 and 1995. They found that 12 percent of the local populations had gone extinct.

They later connected the lizards’ decline to climate records and studied the effect of rising temperatures on lizard physiology and behavior. For example, cold-blooded lizards can’t forage for food when their bodies get too hot – they must seek shade because they can’t regulate their own temperature. The researchers found that the hours per day when the temperature allowed foraging dropped significantly.

Sites said that when the temperature increase hits during a critical month of the reproductive cycle, the lizards don’t get enough energy resources to support a clutch of eggs or embryos.

“The heat doesn’t kill them, they just don’t reproduce,” said Sites, who earned BYU’s highest honor for faculty, the Maeser Distinguished Faculty Award, in 2002. “It doesn’t take too much of that and the population starts to crash.”

But for the phenomenon to be linked to climate change, the pattern would need to be seen globally. Sites connected Sinervo with researchers in Chile and Argentina, where Sites has been working for a decade. Sinervo also worked with researchers who documented lizard declines in Africa, Australia, and Europe.

“To get this kind of pattern, on five continents in 34 different groups of lizards, that’s not random, that’s a correlated response to something big,” Sites said, adding that the effect appears to be happening too fast for the lizards to adapt.

Sites finds no joy in being part of such a significant study. “It’s a terrible sinking feeling – when I first saw the data, I thought, ‘Can this really be happening?’ It’s important to point out, but it sure is depressing.”

Sites says the model now needs detailed testing on all five continents, with a standardized protocol on lizard species that are widespread.

Read more about Sites’ exploits with reptiles in this BYU Magazine profile.

Portions of a UC-Santa Cruz news release are used here with permission.

================================================================

OK here’s the money quote from the BYU press release:

Sites explained. “But Mexican ecologists were going back every few years, and pretty soon the lizards were hard to find, and then they weren’t seeing any. These are protected areas, so the habitat’s still there. So you start to think there is something else going on.”

Yes it’s climate change! That must be it! It’s the only thing that fits…or…maybe not.

The popularity of keeping lizards as pets has exploded in the last 30 years. Catch and release programs aren’t the standard for lizards, it’s more like “catch and take home”.   In a poor country like Mexico, selling captured lizards, dead or alive to the gringos = easy money.

Take for example this report about lizard trade in Mexico from American University:

http://www1.american.edu/ted/REPTILE.HTM

Reptile Trade from Mexico:

“The illegal skins trade in Mexico represents millions of dollars annually on the black market.”

Here’s a peer reviewed paper on the lizard skin trade in Mexico:

Here’s a story about the explosion of exotic pets, including lizards, in the UK   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-great-british-pet-the-new-trend-gripping-the-nation-424569.html

“The British Federation of Herpetologists believes there are already more reptiles than dogs in UK homes and while the number of canines began a steady decline 10 years ago, sales of snakes, lizards, spiders and snails continue to rocket with a five-fold increase in the past 10 years.”

Here’s another from Boston.com   http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2008/07/13/leaping_lizards/

“The popularity of reptiles as pets is exploding. In 2006, 4.8 million households in the United States owned 13 million reptiles, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. That’s double the 2.4 million households that owned reptiles in 1996.”

Maybe its not the heat, but the handbags: The “endangered species handbook” says: http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook.org/trade_reptile_lizards.php

“The luxury reptile leather trade has pushed many species toward extinction, and it shows no signs of declining.  Lizard and snakeskin products are now being sold in the volume that turtle and crocodilian leather once were. “

Even the WWF admits the trade is the problem:   http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/globalmarkets/wildlifetrade/faqs-reptile.html

“Scientists recognize some 6,000 species of reptiles in five different groups: turtles and tortoises (order Testudines), tuataras (order Rhynchocephalia), lizards (order Sauria), snakes (order Serpentes), and crocodilians (order Crocodylia). Reptiles are traded live as pets and for their parts, particularly their skins, which are valued for certain leather items such as shoes, wallets, handbags, and watchbands. In addition, some reptiles are used as food and to make traditional medicines.”

I find the choice of lizard used by Dr. Sites in the video and press release hilarious, because it underscores his complete lack of understanding of what’s going on outside his world. He uses an Australian bearded lizard (dragon) in the video, and provide this photo in the BYU PR page:


Click here to download
An Australian bearded dragon.

What’s funny about using a bearded lizard? They aren’t going extinct, they are being bred to meet the popularity demand.

http://www.lakehowellanimalclinic.com/html/bearded_dragon_biology.html

Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are omnivorous lizards that are native to Central Australia. These squamates have been raised in captivity with great success, with (estimates of) over 250,000 being produced in captivity per year.

Of course, with other lizards disappearing, it HAS to be climate change. There could not be any other explanation. Because, well, there just isn’t.

What a load of plonkers.

=======================

UPDATE: In comments Jimbo writes:

Here are examples of why some Mexicans and other nationals would like to catch lizards:
SHOES
Manolo Blahnik Lizard skin shoes $876.00
Manolo Blahnik black lizard ‘Cicero’ $876.00
Lucchese Womens 1883 Lizard Skin Boots $369.99
Lizard & Crocodile Penny Loafers $199.99

LADIE’S BAGS
Burgundy Lizard Skin Handbag $250
Blumarine Special Edition $749.99 YOU SAVE: 70.00 % !!!
FENDI Vintage Rare Beaded SILK LIZARD $399.00
Fendi evening handbag Neve NOW ONLY $1,113.00
——
BBC
“Customs officers are to work with police forces worldwide to crack down on the smuggling of exotic birds and animals.

The illegal trade rakes in billions of pounds a year, making it the second most lucrative after drug smuggling, according to the intern

========================================

Juraj V. says:

Temperature in Mexico:
http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icrutem3_hadsst2_250-265E_15-30N_na.png
I can’t imagine the lizard die-off in 1860s or 1940s.
Look how the sinusoidal wave starts to go negative again.

http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icrutem3_hadsst2_250-265E_15-30N_na.png

Well the popularity of keeping lizards as pets has exploded in the last 30 years. Catch and release programs aren’t the standard for lizards, it’s more like “catch and take home”.
In a poor country like Mexico, selling captured lizards – easy money.
Here’s a story about the explosion of exotic pets, including lizards, in the UK
The British Federation of Herpetologists believes there are already more reptiles than dogs in UK homes and while the number of canines began a steady decline 10 years ago, sales of snakes, lizards, spiders and snails continue to rocket with a five-fold increase in the past 10 years.”
Here’s another from Boston.com
The popularity of reptiles as pets is exploding. In 2006, 4.8 million households in the United States owned 13 million reptiles, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. That’s double the 2.4 million households that owned reptiles in 1996.”
Maybe its not the heat, but the handbags: The “endangered species handbook” says:
“The luxury reptile leather trade has pushed many species toward extinction, and it shows no signs of declining.  Lizard and snakeskin products are now being sold in the volume that turtle and crocodilian leather once were. “
Even the WWF admits the trade is the problem:
“Scientists recognize some 6,000 species of reptiles in five different groups: turtles and tortoises (order Testudines), tuataras (order Rhynchocephalia), lizards (order Sauria), snakes (order Serpentes), and crocodilians (order Crocodylia). Reptiles are traded live as pets and for their parts, particularly their skins, which are valued for certain leather items such as shoes, wallets, handbags, and watchbands. In addition, some reptiles are used as food and to make traditional medicines.”
Of course, it HAS to be climate change. There could not be any other explanation. What a load of plonkers.
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133 thoughts on “AGW=dead lizards? Maybe it’s not the heat, but the handbags and herpetology aficionados?

  1. Lizards are breathing CO2 just like us, right? So when Lizard population goes down…less CO2. That is negative feedback.

    Dr. Spencer!

  2. And now the million dollar question: What’s the fastest way to increased grant money?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

    Bueller?

  3. Oh the humanity, Iguanas freezing to death in south Florida because of man-made global warming. How are we going to stop this insanity?

    FROZEN IGUANA,How to catch cold iguana’s in south Florida

    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHtnIwjIDWc]

  4. Truly annoying, as usual. Anyone who has driven around south of the border has seen kids selling exotic animals by the side of the road. In fact I saw some Mexican American kids in my town essentially trying to do the same thing with turtles they found. Lizards are also edible. These “journalists” take anything these “scientists” say and strip out any caveats or subtleties (if present) and proclaim the end of the world. grrr.

  5. In South Sarasota (FL) County they set aside several acres and made it into a scrub jay reserve. There is a big sign telling us what it is. Apparently scrub jays cannot read as scrub jays have not been found to be nesting there.

  6. That’s pretty insulting to the lizards. They move around regularly during the day to sunnier / shadier spots to control their body temperature. And while egg temperature is very important to breeding, the lizards are pretty good at figuring out were to bury their eggs (soil temperature, moisture, etc). I’m sure there’s some point where they would be unable to adapt and reproduce, but it would have to be fare more drastic than what’s observed so far.

  7. Here’s 2.44 minutes of your life you will never get back.
    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hywYK-g0DlI&feature=related]

  8. Mexicans *eat* lizards too. I have Mexican cousins who love them. Especially the big ones. Much like Cajuns eat alligators. When you’re poor any source of protein is a win.

  9. Seems strange, that these lizards that evolved before dinosaurs, who have experienced extremes of climates that humans can only imagine, would just now succumb to a warming of a mere 0.7c. But then, what would I know?

  10. I know its just a press release, but nowhere in the article did I see any indication that the temperatures in the places where the now-extinct populations lived actually rose. Only a modeled prediction of extinction, based on something that isn’t real clear. Did the researchers leave that part out altogether, or was it the journalist who wrote the press release?

  11. The researchers forget that fads are worldwide. Everybody needs to be seen in lizardskin tights sporting lizardskin wallets or handbags while wearing lizardskin shoes. It doesn’t hurt to put your sunglasses in lizardskin cases while your cranium cover features a lizardskin hatband. Everybody worldwide knows that lizardskin is hot, while climate is not!

  12. Temperature in Mexico:

    I can’t imagine the lizard die-off in 1860s or 1940s.
    Look how the sinusoidal wave starts to go negative again.

  13. There might have been some case here, but when the authors give so little thought to other possible causes how can they be taken seriously by anybody?

    Thats not rhetorical. SOMEBODY is taking this report seriously.

  14. Correct spelling: AFICIONADOS
    Anyway sun-made climate change: Solar flyux=68, call 911!

  15. Actually, I’ve seen a increase in the lizard (and cottonmouth ) population on my farm in the past 10 years. Maybe they are all moving to MS :) ;).

  16. Anthony, I agree with your general skepticism, but what about this statement:

    “To get this kind of pattern, on five continents in 34 different groups of lizards, that’s not random, that’s a correlated response . . .” Seems bigger than just some folks in Mexico selling pets.

    The reality is, we’d probably need to see the details of the study, how the populations were counted, how the temperatures were assessed and correlated, potential non-temperature factors for the 34 different groups, etc., in order to make a definitive statement about whether the study holds water.

    REPLY: I hear you, and I’ll also point out the interest in lizards and herpetology collecting is gaining momentum worldwide. The trade is happening on all continents. – Anthony

  17. PS: Maybe Sites should enlist the Census Bureau to go door to door and count the lizards. They probably wouldn’t respond on the mail-in form, and it would provide the gov’t with some additional labor statistics to trumpet to the media.

  18. As an Australian this makes my day, mate. Global warming kills your lizards – then we make a killing by selling our bearded dragon lizards. The perfect crime!

  19. In Australia , the spread of an introduced species (the cane toad) directly lead to a drop in many native animal populations.
    Eating the toads (which are poisonous) often/mostly has fatal results.

  20. When I wear my twin lizard cowboy boots and walk down the street. It must put lizards out of the mood romantically to see their brother on a pair of boots.

  21. Seriously talking: Lizards, being cold blooded, prefer warm weather. This is indicative of Maunder like minimum approaching. Living species control their birth rate when facing hard times.

  22. Anthony, here’s the catch/caveat to this:

    “Sinervo and collaborators resurveyed 48 species of spiny lizards”

    Thanks to DNA, we now have at least 7 species of giraffes.
    Where in the very recent past, we only had one species of giraffe, and that one species was not in any danger.

    Now, we have 7 species of giraffe, and they are all in danger.

    Grouped together as one species, giraffes were in no danger.
    Divided up into 7 species, all 7 species are in danger.

    Get it?

  23. Are the lizards gone or did they move?

    If the same researchers keep going back to the same place and they don’t find the lizards that were there before, do they keep looking there or do they check and see if the lizards moved with no forwarding address?

    Besides the lizard trade, did anyone look a few arroyos over to see if they moved? Maybe they were being bothered by too many researchers clomping around.

  24. BTW, all living beings increase or decrease its “estro”(reproductive desire) as a consequence of sun light brigthness, which through the eyes act on internal secretion glands.

  25. Ah, warming/extinction models:
    Balsam wood strength data, findings as thin as rice paper and glue-induced hysteria.
    What a world.

  26. Shub said (June 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm): It should read ‘afficionados’

    No, ‘aficionado’ is correct. It’s from Spanish, which doesn’t allow a doubled consonant except when it has a different sound from the single version (for example Spanish ‘rr’ sounds different than Spanish ‘r’).

  27. Vincent says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Seems strange, that these lizards that evolved before dinosaurs, who have experienced extremes of climates that humans can only imagine, would just now succumb to a warming of a mere 0.7c. But then, what would I know?
    ———-

    Agreed! I called this a load of croc back in May and offered up other possible explanations for their decline. These rent seekers have no shame!!!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/13/now-its-lizards-going-extinct-due-to-climate-change/#comment-389352

  28. The key sentence is “But for the phenomenon to be linked to climate change, the pattern would need to be seen globally.”
    It is a fact that lizards are not reproducing in the Arctic or in the Antarctic either. More evidence of AGW.

  29. kenboldt says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    “And now the million dollar question: What’s the fastest way to increased grant money?

    Anyone?”

    Add the words “climate change” somehow, of course.

    And to maintain or increase the flow of cash, find some connection.

    To make the flow permanent, make sure you need to monitor the impacts of climate change on your chosen ‘victim.’

    This has been one of the main thrusts of the pesudoscience of Conservation Biology since its recent invention, and it explains a lot of the alarming headlines about just about everything.

    I have seen this trick work too many times, and the opposite effect as well…

  30. Light acts through the eye in the pineal gland which produces gonadotrophyn hormones which act, in its turn, on sexual organs. Then this study is absolutely WRONG.

  31. latitude says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm
    Anthony, here’s the catch/caveat to this:

    “Sinervo and collaborators resurveyed 48 species of spiny lizards”

    Thanks to DNA, we now have at least 7 species of giraffes.
    Where in the very recent past, we only had one species of giraffe, and that one species was not in any danger.

    Now, we have 7 species of giraffe, and they are all in danger.

    Grouped together as one species, giraffes were in no danger.
    Divided up into 7 species, all 7 species are in danger.

    ———-

    And each of these “species” becomes a separate lucrative franchise for a Conservation Biology team, or even a taskforce, which must research, monitor and ‘save’ it.

    So 7 times more of these ‘experts’ are required – at least. If borders are crossed, each country often also has their own. Fantastic scam.

    This also explains why various species at-risk lists keep growing, which in turn is used to fool/scare the public into thinking they actually mean something.

  32. Climate change also caused the dramatic reduction in the American horse population since the early 1900s.

  33. Maybe global warming. Maybe the lizard gods didn’t get enough sacrifices. Maybe too much poaching. Who knows.

    I wonder if those lizards are just doing what’s worked well for them for all of prehistory: migrate. Migration is a great adaptation skill, so I imagine it is pretty deep in their instincts. Only now, migration means walking out of the isolated protected areas to places where they are in serious jeopardy from humans and their pets.

    On the other hand, people are probably helping them migrate to places they’ve never been able to get to before, thus becoming the “invasive species” over there.

    So just looking at their original locations doesn’t tell the whole story.

  34. ‘What a load of plonkers’ ? From where did you learn this quintessentially English term?

    REPLY: I read. I retain. I know not from where but I found it far better than the alternative. – A

  35. Re: biology professor Jack Sites

    He don’t get out much, do he?
    (Although the same can be said about many alleged research scientists who go through life wearing blinders to all but their narrow-focused concern.)

  36. Eric Anderson says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Anthony, I agree with your general skepticism, but what about this statement:

    “To get this kind of pattern, on five continents in 34 different groups of lizards, that’s not random, that’s a correlated response . . .” Seems bigger than just some folks in Mexico selling pets.

    ——–
    Eric, do you remember the frog deaths that happened worldwide. Maybe there is a similar situation happening with the lizards. Similar situation with bee deaths worldwide. The AGWers’ mistake is to assume it must be man-made co2 warming and so don’t bother to look at any other possibility because it doesn’t pay too well in grant money. What a croc!!!

    So let’s reconsider: What is the most probable cause of the lizard population decline wordwide? Capture as pets, killing for handbags / shoes, disease OR a 0.7c rise in temps which previously failed to wipe out their ancestors or their dino cousins. Where is their evidence of the temperature rise in their study area? Can it be believed?

    Frog deaths:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080326195628.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091119135642.htm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5008940.stm

  37. You people can sneer all you want, but the science is settled. Theory and models are real science: data is only relevant if it can serve them. You need to accept your scientific chattering class, its shonky data, and its elitist journals and learn to think properly. It is your taxes that support, even demand, these results. So stop complaining and conform: lizards will die if you don’t.

  38. I blamed my neighbour’s cats for the decline in the local species of skinks. Once neighbour plus cats were gone the skinks flourished — to be taken by a burgeoning flocks of Kookaburras and once again the population of skinks has begun to decline …. The solution is simple: I’ll call any cats and kookaburras I see “global warming”.

  39. Excellent debunking of yet another false AGW claim.
    Another 10.000 to go.

    Unfortunately.

    And those debunked effectively t will pop up again after some time.

    It’s almost natural, the propaganda comes in waves that coincide with Senate Bills.

    Cap & Trade is still on the agenda.

  40. Humans and pesticides would be killing lizards, not the temperature LOL

    Maybe saying all the birds of preys is helping them be eaten!

  41. Professor from BYU?

    Maybe he can shed light on the extinction of a feathered reptile:

    His Name, Quezalcóatl, means literally “Quetzal-snake” or “the plumed serpent”. To the Aztecs the feathers of the quetzal bird were a symbol of something precious. Cóatl also means “twin brother”.. Thus the name Quezalcóatl is understood by Mormon Scholars to mean “The Precious Twin”,

    From the Mormon writings.

  42. Just an idea Professor, maybe you should stop screwing with the lizards. Maybe they just don’t like you that way.

  43. Here are examples of why some Mexicans and other nationals would like to catch lizards:
    SHOES
    Manolo Blahnik Lizard skin shoes $876.00
    Manolo Blahnik black lizard ‘Cicero’ $876.00
    Lucchese Womens 1883 Lizard Skin Boots $369.99
    Lizard & Crocodile Penny Loafers $199.99

    LADIE’S BAGS
    Burgundy Lizard Skin Handbag $250
    Blumarine Special Edition $749.99 YOU SAVE: 70.00 % !!!
    FENDI Vintage Rare Beaded SILK LIZARD $399.00
    Fendi evening handbag Neve NOW ONLY $1,113.00
    ——
    BBC
    “Customs officers are to work with police forces worldwide to crack down on the smuggling of exotic birds and animals.

    The illegal trade rakes in billions of pounds a year, making it the second most lucrative after drug smuggling, according to the international police body, Interpol. “

  44. “Species” is used very loosely in most instances. Seldom is the biological definition used which is that distinct species are those genetically incapable of producing fertile hybrids.

    Imagine how difficult it would be to test for true speciation. It’s often difficult to get two of the same species to reproduce in captivity to say nothing of two that may be only subspecies. Because of this difficulty two populations that aren’t observed to interbreed in the wild because of sexual selection preference or geographic isolation are classed as separate species. If this same metric were applied to humans we’d have a couple dozen species of humans on the planet instead of just one.

    So when you hear about species going extinct take it with a huge grain of salt because it’s highly likely it’s only a sub-species going extinct and no genetic diversity is actually being forever lost. It’s the loss of genetic diversity we want to avoid. Losing some populations which are merely sub-species is not a big deal because given the same selection pressures which produced the sub-species are applied to other members of the species the true breeding variant will return.

    For instance look at all the different sub-species of dogs there are. Most if not all of them originated within the last 20,000 years from wolves, coyotes, and jackals (the latter three can all interbreed). The original genetic stock still exists and with selective breeding all the dog breeds can be reproduced from wolves, coyotes, and jackals. If all the dog breeds were wild, which is a laugh because few of them would survive for long, they’d be classed as a hundred different species. Given we know for sure they can interbreed because they’ve been so closely watched for so long we know that are only three wild sub-species and all the domestic canines are just inbred combinations of them selected for traits that are recessive in the wild.

  45. To add to my last comment, we already know that there are some Mexicans and other national around the world who engage in big time drug smuggling. Animal smuggling comes second to drugs with less harsh penalties. I’m not jumping to any conclusions but if you were criminally minded but didn’t have the muscle to compete with the violent cartels, what would you consider?

  46. So does this mean that lizards can only survive at very strict latitudes and if they stray south by, say, 20 miles/32 km (or whatever it takes to change a few tenths of a degree) they will die out? Or, if the breeding month has a +2C anomaly for a few years in a row locally (not beyond the realm of belief if kept locally for a few years), will the lizards die out?

    Seriously, if they tied it to AGW in some way other than temperatures (maybe rainfall or something), then it MIGHT be buy-able, but to tie it to temperature is absurd.

    I don’t care if you’re a hardcore evolution follower or think God made it all…if life was really that fragile, it wouldn’t be around today!

    -Scott

  47. “”Al Gored says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm
    This also explains why various species at-risk lists keep growing””

    Exactly, and it’s pretty much univeral.

    No one would believe that polar bears are “at-risk”.
    But divide them up into much smaller colonies, and you can find a couple of colonies at risk.

    Which is exactly what they did.

    Also allows them to claim more species are endangered than ever before blah blah blah

    I seriously doubt that there are 48 distinct and separate species of spiny lizards in Mexico, and even if there are, 12% going extinct is really no big deal. That’s only about 6, and I doubt anyone could tell them apart without cutting them open. And I seriously doubt that they would be so distinct that no other of the 42 ‘species’ of spiney Mexican lizard could not habitate the exact same location.

  48. Perhaps the problem is not AGW but chemicals in the environment that affect the reproductive cycle. I wonder if there have been any studies that track those types of changes. An interesting documentary from cbc on how human reproduction is being affected by the myriad of new man-made compounds that are being found in the environment.

    http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/Doc_Zone/ID=1233750780

    Stan

  49. “”Dave Springer says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm
    So when you hear about species going extinct take it with a huge grain of salt because it’s highly likely it’s only a sub-species going extinct and no genetic diversity is actually being forever lost.”‘

    100% spot on Dave, thank you

  50. We watched as the iguana’s fell like rain it was so cold. The pythons stopped traffic, the only warm they could find was the blacktop to get them through the nights.

    And our coconut palms died for no reason right on down to the Miami City limits and beyond. It was brutal what cold did.

    And you don’t even want to hear what happened to the manatee and fish populations. Needless to say many fishing seasons had to be closed because of the cold weather die offs…

  51. I know that the ‘local’ (my back yard) blue-tongue lizards are extinct as the neighbours dogs ate 5 of them last year. Other possible causes I found from a quick search are:

    http://www.gamecouncil.nsw.gov.au/portal.asp?p=Ferals1

    “The fox population in Australia is estimated at 7.2 million. It is estimated this population consumes 190 million birds every year.” And foxes are notorius for eating anything and everything, including lizards.

    http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/australian-desert-animals.html

    “Bearded dragons originated mainly in the central desert regions of Australia. From there they conquered the rest of the planet: they are one of the most popular pet lizards in the world.”

    http://www.wildlifehealth.org.au/AWHN_Admin/ManageWebsite%5CFactSheets%5CUploadedFiles/122/Adenovirus%20infection%20in%20Bearded%20Dragons%20in%20Australia%2015%20Aug%202009%20(1.0).pdf

    “Agamid adenovirus 1 is a common pathogen of neonate captive bearded dragons in the USA. Its presence has been detected in captive collections in Australia. Given the popularity of the Pogona genus as a pet species it is important to monitor the presence of this virus both in captive and free living populations.”

  52. Living in the UK I can vouch that I have never seen a lizard in the countryside. I think it’s because the UK has miserable cold weather. When I visit a hot country, they’re everywhere. I’m no expert, but I think lizards like it hot.

    I saw a newt once. It looked like a wet lizard.

  53. “The global trade in smuggled wildlife is booming, with worldwide sales estimated to be anywhere from U.S. $10 billion to U.S. $20 billion.

    In the United States, the trade is the second largest black market after illegal drug traffic. ”
    National Geographic July 26, 2007

    They can’t see the wood for the trees.

  54. The Polar Bears in Manitoba are next if one believes a recent study http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/polar+bears+could+disappear+years/3122881/story.html

    “WINNIPEG — Northern Manitoba’s celebrated polar bear population is set to vanish in just a few short decades, if research by two of the world’s top experts proves right.
    The Western Hudson Bay subpopulation of polar bears, estimated at 935 animals in 2004, is expected to decline over the next 25 to 30 years to the point where there are not enough bears to sustain a breeding population, predicts University of Alberta biologist Ian Stirling, who’s been studying polar bears for 37 years.
    The increasing length of the ice-free season on Hudson Bay will soon reach a tipping point where 20 to 30 per cent of Manitoba’s polar bears will begin dying off every year, according to a mathematical analysis released by Stirling’s colleague, University of Alberta biologist Andrew Derocher, who has studied polar bears for 28 years.
    Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/polar+bears+could+disappear+years/3122881/story.html#ixzz0qDXp0VeI

    That is IF these two guys are proven right.
    Those mathematical analysis are the latest toy to predict doom and gloom thanks to global warming. Watch out what will be the next prediction… How about funding for David Barber’s rotten ice research?

  55. Is this guy for real ?

    I am seldom moved to the full court ROFLMAO state of utter contempt for someone claiming to be a scientist; as I am by this video clip.

    So we have a busibody who has been out in the deserts and like collecting lizards; and they are disappearing. Leave the damn things alone; and maybe they will stop disappearing. We live on a planet; where the extreme range of surface temperatures duing northern summers; can range from close to -90 deg C ; at places like Vostok Station and higher up the plateau all the way to the hottest tropical deserts of North Africa and the Arab middle East where the surface temperatures exceed +60 deg C, and who knows how much higher; that is an extreme range of 150 deg C; all of which can exist simultaneously on the planet. If you join those two points of extreme limits, by a line; ANY line; going through any place on earth you want to choose; somewhere along that line, you will observe any and every possible temperature that lies between those extreme ends; and maybe outside of them; if you didn’t start with the real extremes.

    And climatologers tell us that we might have warmed by about 1 deg F or 0.6 deg C in the last 150 years; and maybe not even that if you throw in the 2008 retrace.

    So who hasn’t seen the video of those lizards that stand on the hot desert sands on two feet; any two feet, and play the hot step boogie; sequentially switching feet to not burn. Then they can go hide in a crevice, or under a rock; or sit out in the sun when they want to get warm.

    And somebody actually believes that a 0.6 deg C change in temperature in a range of 150 deg C or more; is a life threatening trauma for these creatures; that regulate their own temperature by moving around in their habitat; including burying themselves under those hot sands; where it actually is cooler. In case you haven’t noticed; a loosely packed agglomeration of crystalline particles, is not exactly a good design for a high thermal conductivity heat transfer medium; so hiding under the sand, is a good way to keep cool if you are a lizard.

    Well I got tired of listening to Jaques Cousteau complain about sport fishing; while he calmy killed harmless fish to get sharks into a feeding frenzy for his cameras; so he could con gullible Americans and others into funding his scuba diving recreation; under the guise of “scientific experimental research”. Yes and the Japanese and Norewgians, and Icelanders still kill harmless whales for “Scientific research” (pull my other leg).

    So I’m going to pay attention to somebody who says a 0.6 deg C maybe temperature change is anihilating the lizards. Leave them alone; so they don’t have to worry about being chased around by predators like over zealous “researchers” in search of grant money.

    Well the English language does not contain words that describe my contempt for such silliness; and if it did I would use them in this instance.

  56. @ John Trigge

    “…And foxes are notorius for eating anything and everything, including lizards….”

    Don’t forget tasty humans.

    Fox attack hospitalizes twin girls.
    The fox entered a home through an open door and attacked the 9-month-old twin girls in their cribs. The parents were watching television and opened the door because of the heat.”

    http://www.newsoxy.com/world/fox-attack-13304.html

    Natch they had to throw the heat thing in there….

  57. latitude says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Anthony, here’s the catch/caveat to this:

    “Sinervo and collaborators resurveyed 48 species of spiny lizards”

    Thanks to DNA, we now have at least 7 species of giraffes.
    Where in the very recent past, we only had one species of giraffe, and that one species was not in any danger.

    Now, we have 7 species of giraffe, and they are all in danger.

    Grouped together as one species, giraffes were in no danger.
    Divided up into 7 species, all 7 species are in danger.

    Get it?

    Oh that term ‘species’ is a slippery little devil.

    Biologists intentionally use the term to describe what is really a subspecies.

    We had a big hoedown here in Colorado over the meaning of subspecies versus species.

    http://www.hcn.org/issues/327/16445

    The upshot?

    North of the Colorado/Wyoming border this critter is fair game because it is simply a Montana Jumping Meadow Mouse. South of the border it is an endangered Preble Jumping Mouse.

    I’ve been tempted to collect a few thousand of the Montana critters and setting them loose in Colorado riparian areas. Wait a few years and demand a resampling of the DNA. It would be very entertaining. Maybe the local mice would consider the imported mice ‘exotic’ and make the game even more exciting.

    Naw. I would get busted and suffer years of imprisonment for messing with the endangered species act. It would be much safer to just kill a human.

  58. Poaching almost decimated the African elephant and rhino populations. Concerted international action helped to reverse this. Today, we are trying a different method to save lizards by attempting to reduce man’s co2 output levels. This will fail as lizards prefer warmth and die due to cold. Why the heck are there more lizards in the tropics? And if it did get warmer there would be more habitable areas for lizards in previously cooler geographic areas.

    What a croc!!!

  59. Stan Buffel says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    “Perhaps the problem is not AGW but chemicals in the environment that affect the reproductive cycle……..”

    That is a possible explanation. Another would be need. Nature is brutal. Species exist where there is need. Our ecological system is complex, but not fragile. Many functions interact to perform a balance. When an animal ceases to be necessary for the balance, the animal will cease to exist. Introduction of alternate fauna that perform the same necessary function creates a hardship of the existing animal. Does man change the necessities? Of course he does. Consider the American buffalo or bison, if you will, or even the European bison. They once thrived over large territories in great numbers. Today, they are confined to relative small areas in relative few places. Why? The obvious reason is man hunted them to near extinction. But today, for the most part they are protected by a great force of law and have been for some time. Bison exist, today, because of man’s intervention. Cattle, or bovine, provide essentially the same functions as the bison, except they require less space. And, to return bison to their “original” state, we’d have to halt interstate commerce on a daily basis to facilitate the needs of the bison. Some may feel melancholy over the lack of need for the bison, but that’s an emotion and lacks rationality. Although the bison provide a much leaner meat than bovine, bison will not replace bovine meat. The fact is, like the dodo bird, the earth no longer needs bison. It doesn’t provide a necessary function any longer.

    One may say the two examples, the dodo and bison, is an example of man’s intrusion into nature. I say, they are examples of man’s role in Nature.

    …….Or, the diminished role of bison and the extinction of the dodo happen to coincide with industrialization of the earth and THAT’S THE CAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!!!! Dang, it’s still our fault! :-(

    Darn, still suffering from the after effects of seeing that hockey stick graph.

    Peace.

  60. Species go extinct all the time, and new species are evolving all the time. Get used to it. It’s called EVOLUTION. I thought the science behind that concept was settled!

  61. Hey Anthony, not fair! There they were, all ready to get kudos for another bogus GW beatup, and here you go pointing out that they are really distracting attention from a real and genuine threat to the lizards.

    Hey, these guys’ grant money is at stake! How dare you actually DO SOMETHING to help the real life lizards? Traps? Getting eaten? How could that POSSIBLY stack up against 0.7 degrees? GET REAL!!!

    (/sarc for the humour-impaired)

    On a serious note, here in HOT Queensland Australia, the local lizards’ main cause of death is being run over by cars. Why do they get run over by cars? Because (and I’m talking to you, Jack Sites) they LIE ON THE ROAD to warm up, and they do it in the morning, sometimes, even, at noon, and they do it in the afternoon. This is in HOT Queensland Australia where, we have been told recentlyby other GW loons, Australia is about to die due to overheating. Tell it to the poor lizards whom I have to do my best to avoid every time I drive to town. Some reptile expert! This is just yet more evidence of what a useless anti-scientific piece of trash “Science” has become.

  62. alan says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    “Species go extinct all the time, and new species are evolving all the time. Get used to it. It’s called EVOLUTION. I thought the science behind that concept was settled!”

    Well, …….there was a consensus……..

  63. As I sit here, ruminating about the many inaccuracies (falsehoods?) inherent in this line of “research” I cannot help but wonder when this is going to start affecting us in Texas? I’m writing from my favorite chair, a low federal style which has been in our family since at least 1850, which is in my upstairs office. The reason that this is important to the discussion is that on the window sill there are currently 6 Anoles, a lizard that is familiar to most people from pet stores, which are sold as “chameleons”. Unlike a true chameleon, these lizards change colour according to the temperature, a brilliant green when it’s hot, currently 101 degrees (F) and a dull brown when cold. At night, they may be found under the lip of my roof, which is when the geckos come out.
    My small property here actually has representatives of 3 types of lizards and I seem to be overrun with them. I’m not sure of the species of the third type, it’s rather large, about 5 inches without the tail, grey/green/yellowish, lives under my palmeto and has a nasty temper.My long, rambling diatribe does have a salient point; these lizards are sold by the bucket load to pet stores throughout the country, saving only our southern states where they are common, and it’s illegal to catch them in the “wild” for resale purposes. As many others have pointed out, the decline in numbers (if we can even trust that) is probably due to “loose protection” laws; as our climate here is very similar to northern mexico.

  64. looks like nothing will come out of Bonn:

    8 June: AFP: 10 years needed to seal climate cuts, says UN pointman
    “I don’t see the process delivering adequate mitigation targets in the next decade,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said in a webcast from Bonn….

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iz2-vCgzscFjoJP-h97HLvlcgkrA

    8 June: Hindustan Times: US, EU differ on future climate change negotiations
    At Bonn, however, US officials appear to have softened their stand on Kyoto Protocol, saying they don’t mind it being discussed. “US is not a signatory to Kyoto and, therefore, any discussion on it does not matter to it,” said an Indian negotiator, participating at the 185-nation conference, biggest after the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009.
    The European Union, on the other hand, says there is no future for Kyoto Protocol and wants to discuss the new climate agreement where some responsibility is defined for all nations. The view is opposed by developing nations represented by G-77 plus China. ..
    Chief South African delegate Alf Wills said the document put too much burden on developing nations, devoting a whole chapter to emissions curbs by the South but not the North. “It’s completely unbalanced in that respect,” he said.
    Other major economies — India and China — have backed South African view…

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/US-EU-differ-on-future-climate-change-negotiations/Article1-554576.aspx

    8 June: Next: Climate change fund will be a grant
    Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary, United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, said on Monday that only Japan who pledged $15 billion to the proposed fund indicated that certain portion of her pledge would come as loan…

    http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5577183-146/climate_change_fund_will_be_a.csp

  65. Its the lack of intellectual curiosity that I find so irritating … it has to be climate change … of course …not the kind of questions one might ask like below ..
    – is this really possible for a 0.5 degrees C temperature rise ?
    – lets do some lab (greenhouse) experiments on lizard reporduction as a function of temperature.
    – wouldn’t the lizards just move 50m uphill ? to negate the effect of temperature ?
    – what else is changing ?
    – how did they surviver the high temps of the 1940’s ?

    Its truly pathetic !

  66. ImranCan says:
    June 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    “Its the lack of intellectual curiosity……….”

    That stuff is sooo passe. The word “intellectual” doesn’t belong in a CAGW discussion. True, many are educated, but I find intellectual pursuit woefully lacking. Very few have, none as far as I can tell, stated that even if all the doom and gloom the CAGW people have proposed is true, that the cure is still worse than the illness. In my estimation, this is true. To take a quote from a book that many here seem to disdain, regardless of the well-founded logic, “Let us do evil that good may come?” How much harm must we do to our fellow man before we save humanity? Yes, that’s a moral question, but it is also incumbent upon us to intellectually ask the question. The worst case scenario: how much are we willing and able to pay? For me, the answer is, the price is already to high. For us to be forced to deal with trifling studies about lizards which have thrived in much warmer conditions isn’t superfluous, it is a horrible harm to mankind.

  67. BYU didn’t watch V. The bad reptiles get it in the end. And Godzilla must be appeased, or he’ll go on a rampage.

  68. aficionado = modest enthusiasm; afficionado = strong enthusiasm; affficionado = really great enthusiasm. apicicionado = softly enthusiastic; appicionado = …

  69. OT: Congratulations, Mr. Watts, on the selection of WuWT as the #1 Science Blog! (Maybe that’s what set off your “uninvited guest”? I truly hope so.)

  70. surprised any MSM reporting on this:

    7 June: LA Times: Andrew Malcolm: The ties that bind. Remember Rahm Emanuel’s rent-free D.C. apartment? The owner: A BP adviser
    Greenberg’s consulting firm was a prime architect of BP’s recent rebranding drive as a green petroleum company, down to green signs and the slogan “Beyond Petroleum.”
    Greenberg’s company is also closely tied to a sister Democratic outfit — GCS, named for the last initials of Greenberg, James Carville, another Clinton advisor, and Bob Shrum, John Kerry’s 2004 campaign manager.
    According to published reports, GCS received hundreds of thousands of dollars in political polling contracts in recent years from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
    Probably just a crazy coincidence. But you’ll never guess who was the chairman of that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dispensing those huge polling contracts to his kindly rent-free landlord.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/06/rahm-emanuel-bp-gul-oil-spill.html

  71. OT
    “A note about boundaries”

    Agreed Anthony 100%.

    That being said,

    The Radio Sun
    10.7 cm flux: 68 sfu
    Updated 06 Jun 2010

    The absolute lowest reading is like 67. Should this be something to look at?

  72. alan says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm
    Species go extinct all the time, and new species are evolving all the time. Get used to it. It’s called EVOLUTION. I thought the science behind that concept was settled!

    You’re right, alan. Species go extinct all the time. In paleobiology we have learned that the only way a species radiates is through the extinction of another avatar. Exempli gratia, an avatar 2 living in a given region survives a climate change and an avatar 1 living in the same biotic patch starts succumbing to that climate change. Until this moment, this is the sole mechanism by which a species radiates, evolutionary talking. The other mechanisms are highly vague. In other words, climate changes are ideal for biodiversity. Those guys on the AGW side have turned the science up down.

  73. thelastdemocrat says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    “aficionado = modest enthusiasm; afficionado = strong enthusiasm; affficionado = really great enthusiasm. apicicionado = softly enthusiastic; appicionado = …”

    That slayed me. And I thought worth repeating, apparently.

  74. Chances are the the studies are flawed. There are some significant signs that this is propaganda and not science. There is no such thing as extinction of local populations. The “12% of the local populations had gone extinct” line is a weasel sentence. Most specie of Sceloporus are pretty damn easy to breed and most of the animals in the pet trade are captive breed. The “Evil pet trade causing extinction” line is just propaganda. I am also a bit sceptical of the definition of species being employed. Herpetology has been pretty much be taken over by radical moonbats who are always “splitters”, i.e. those who try to define every population of an animal as a separate species, e.g. Ambistoma californium which really is Ambistoma tigrinum californium.

  75. latitude says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    “”Dave Springer says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    So when you hear about species going extinct take it with a huge grain of salt because it’s highly likely it’s only a sub-species going extinct and no genetic diversity is actually being forever lost.”‘

    100% spot on Dave, thank you

    ———-

    Indeed. It gets worse. They also define ‘distinct geographic populations’ which they can’t even muster enough ‘evidence’ to call supposed ‘subspecies’… and call them ‘species’ too. And add them to list totals of course.

    Then, about the word ‘extinction.’ They are ALWAYS accidentally mixing that up with ‘extirpation’ (local extinction) for maximum fear effect.

    Then there are political boundaries. A recent classic example of this trick came from the Canadian eco-hysterian David Suzuki… screaming about the extinction of the Northern Spotted Owl based on an apparent decline in the British Columbia population. Not mentioned, of course, is that B.C. is on the extreme northern fringe of that population and 99.9% of them have always been in the U.S.

    A huge proportion of the ‘species’ listed in Canada are the tiny marginal populations on the northern extreme of their range, with much larger and often very healthy populations in the U.S. For the most part this relates to the fact that certain habitats just barely make it north into Canada.

  76. “So just looking at their original locations doesn’t tell the whole story.”

    Is it possible that attractants were placed in the initial study, or that locations with recent indications of lizards’ presence were chosen? If so, a subsequent visit to the same location would be less fruitful.

  77. Uh oh, or heh. Waiting to find out. I am acquainted with Jack Sites as he lives a couple miles from me, and we share an interest in reptiles. I’ve not talked to him in since the late 80s, so I’m not up to date on his research. When he was working in Mexico, the lizards he was studying were not the kinds used for skins or pets. They were small common ones and he was studying them because some of them were showing signs of being in the process of differentiation into distinct genetic types. You might want to check on the kinds of lizards cited in the study. And his notes.

    That being said, I’m somewhat skeptical of the claims in the study since temperatures were warmer than now during the medieval warm period. So I don’t think temperature is responsible. I’d more suspect disease. There may be other factors such as other parts of the food chain being disrupted for reasons other than temperatures.

    I can’t tell you if he’s just an AGW tool since I haven’t worked closely with him. But when I knew him, he seemed to be a reasonable guy. So I think it would be nice and wait until we’ve seen the data and the alternate explanations before making fun of or mocking him. This is the first time on this blog I actually know the person being talked about, and it feels, um, awkward watching all the put downs before we’ve examined the data and methodologies.

  78. I did once get annoyed with this, but now I find it really funny – the amount of time it takes a newspapert or the BBC to link ANYTHING with climate change. To give you an example; here in England we’ve just had a very sad incident in which a fox walked into a house in London and attacked two babies while they were in their cots. The babies are both in hospital and obviously we all wish them the best. This is unprecedented, as foxes are usually very wary of humans, and not only will they rarely enter a home, they just don’t attack humans. Apparently this fox showed no fear when the mother came to the babies’ aid.

    Now ask yourself, just how long will it be before the BBC or a newspaper says this is because of climate change? I know it sounds unlikely, but trust me, EVERYTHING gets blamed on climate change here!

  79. Cue picture of a lizard on a melting ice floe………Good grief! I cannot even get mad at these con merchants anymore. Are they trying to bore us into agreement?

  80. Ron House: “the local lizards’ main cause of death is being run over by cars.”

    Same with cane toads, especially in a heavy rain after a dry spell.

    Question: “Why did the cane toad cross the road?”
    Answer: “To see his flat mate”.

  81. I don’t know why you focus on lizards. There are much more serious threats against us humans. The Vikings went extinct because of climate change.

  82. Stan Buffel says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm “Perhaps the problem is not AGW but chemicals in the environment that affect the reproductive cycle”

    Stan, I go feral when I read generalisations like this. I’m a professional chemist and I have some understanding of chemical toxicity and its comparative rarity.

    The world is still in the grip of chemophobia, but it is so passse, because that was the theme of the next Global Apocalypse about 40 years ago. The hypothesis was that chemists were making so many new chemicals that the human race was endangered by a coming wave of cancers induced by the chemicals. Thousands of substances were labelled carcinogenic or teratogenic, mainly from huge doses given to animals, especially mice. Despite all the effort, it is exceptionally difficult to extrapolate mice experiments to human reactions for nominated chemicals.

    If you are worried about lizards not breeding because of the temperature, think of the millions of people whowere not born because of the pill. There, I will accept a chemical(s) that interefere with the life cycle, chemicals about which much is known.

    But, please resist armwaving and chemophobia. We already have a runaway silliness called “organic farming” which would result in mass starvation if applied to the whole agricultural world. We actually have farmers who put dung into cows horns under a full moon, bury it, dig it up again, dilute it in water with a prescribed number of stirs clockwise and anti-clock, then spread it highly diluted on their fields. This hocus pocus is supposed to be better than synthetic fertilizers designed by chemists with decades of experience and measurements.

    Chemophobia sucks. Don’t connect it with Global Warming.

  83. Joe says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    Living in the UK I can vouch that I have never seen a lizard in the countryside. I think it’s because the UK has miserable cold weather. When I visit a hot country, they’re everywhere. I’m no expert, but I think lizards like it hot.”

    Lots down here in Dorset UK. It’s a function of being slightly warmer than rest of UK but mainly because of habitat, sand and heath.
    I can’t believe that ‘science’ paper. Lizards dying from heat? If it was that bad a lot more creatures would have died first surely? Lizards can’t be that sensitive. They’re having a larf!

    Regarding extinctions I read in a science paper that a species was 90% extinct – either it is or it isn’t? Can you be 90% pregnant?

    cheers David

  84. Rabe says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:51 am
    I don’t know why you focus on lizards. There are much more serious threats against us humans. The Vikings went extinct because of climate change.
    —————–Reply:
    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Rabe. Except you overgeneralize–the extinction of the Vikings was because it got COLDER. Look up any of the warmer periods (and contrary to Mann et al, there were indeed several) and you’ll see they correspond to an expansion of civilization and better times for mankind. Don’t be fooled by the “sky if falling” crowd simply because the earth is on a warming trend–it has happended many times before and will do so many times again. Enjoy the warmth before the next Ice Age sets in, at which point life for humans will be much like that experienced by those Vikings.

  85. RE: “‘Science’ Paper links warming to lizard die-offs”

    The word order here seems to indicate that scientists have discovered that warming has been caused by the death of lizards…

  86. I get it, if you don´t look, you can always say you could not find any other reason, so it must be climate change that is to blame.

  87. Global Warming is and will be the cause of the disappearance of many important things, among these freedom.

  88. Its Maggie Thatcher again, shae made handbags popular again and started AGW to defeat the coal Miners.

  89. Excellent research for this post. Some people never move out of their own bubble. Like the good Christian lady, years ago ,who tried to convince me that the best thing the missionaries did in the Pacific Islands during the Early Contact era was to induce the natives to wear clothes. Her mindset was unshakeable and she just smiled at me with irritatingly superior niceness when I attempted to counter her arguments. She ‘just knew’.

  90. Geoff Sherrington (12:52 am)
    But you have to bury it, and dig it up, on full moon….. because you can’t find where you buried it when there is no moon :(

  91. Like most people who grew up in a rural environment, I very much enjoy programmes about the countryside and farming. For that reason, I watch BBC’s ‘Countrywatch’ series, which is usually quite down-to-earth and rational. But in every programme, there just has to be a nod to CAGW and I find that irritating in the extreme. Most of these ‘nods’ are slipped in surreptitiously, but some are total clangers. If the BBC wish to campaign for CAGW, why do I and others have to have this fed to us on our quite large licence fee?

  92. @Grumbler

    Lots down here [lizards] in Dorset UK. It’s a function of being slightly warmer than rest of UK but mainly because of habitat, sand and heath.

    I’m in Newcastle so that probably explains it.

    I like your comment on extinctions. It reminds me of some artical I read that explained how so many species are currently going extinct that a lot of them are going extinct before they’re even discovered. Imaginary extinctions.

    Cheers,

    Joe

  93. “”Spector says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:54 am
    RE: “‘Science’ Paper links warming to lizard die-offs”
    The word order here seems to indicate that scientists have discovered that warming has been caused by the death of lizards…””

    That actually makes more sense. ;-)

  94. So then, when winter come to pass in the US, the local populations of robins “go extinct”. Well, the local populations disappear from the local area, but in fact don’t become extinct.

    “Extinct” is a horrifying term in peoples minds, and promotes alarmism. Extinction only applies to a species, not local populations of a species. Alarming term used improperly in this matter, IMO.

  95. When I was a kid (30 to 40 years ago), we had quadrillions of small lizards here on our ranch in South Texas. Now we have very few. Also now have very few quail and rabbits, and wild turkeys seem to be declining. What do all of these animals have in common? They nest on or in the ground. What species has moved in and drastically multiplied over the past 30 or 40 years? Fire ants. They kill and consume all types of ground-nesting animals, sometimes including newborn calves.

  96. Didn’t the lizards evolve long ago during periods in earth’s geologic history which were from five to ten degrees Centrigrade warmer than today? As is said in the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia article concerning the evolutionary history of reptiles, “The origin of the reptiles lies about 320–310 million years ago, in the steaming swamps of the late Carboniferous period…..”

  97. Stan Buffel says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Perhaps the problem is not AGW but chemicals in the environment that affect the reproductive cycle….
    _____________________________________________________________________-
    You have hit on the answer! It was found that the GM corn, Starlink, has jumped the border and is now found in Mexico.

    “A small California biotech company, Epicyte, in 2001 announced the development of genetically engineered corn which contained a spermicide which made the semen of men who ate it sterile. At the time Epicyte had a joint venture agreement to spread its technology with DuPont and Syngenta, two of the sponsors of the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Vault. “ source

    So there is your answer. Spermicidal GM corn also jumped the Mexican border and was eaten by the lizards or by the insects who are the lizards prey, thereby rendering them sterile!

    Well, it makes as much sense as a 0.7C temp rise as the cause doesn’t it?

  98. Most of these lizards are egg laying non placental. The eggs are laid and survive a swing from night time low to day time highs of 40 to as much as 60 degrees. since the lizards are not warm blooded, they do not sit on their eggs. Is he saying they don’t lay eggs? Is something eating the eggs? That has nothing to do with warming.
    If the egg goes thru a temp swing of as much as 50 degrees, how in the world does he think .6 degrees change upward in average is relevant? He of course hasn’t experimented for this.
    A few mountain dwellers bear live young. It is time he starts doing a study. If he inserts global warming in his grant application, he has a better shot at serious funding.

  99. I still don’t see where they looked at both side of the temperature data. They calculate how much “active” time is reduced due to temps that are too high, but don’t consider how much active time is increased due to a reduction in temperatures that are too low. Either I’m missing something, or the reviewers did.

  100. Sorry- this article is huge fail.
    The argument pro climate caused extinction is not well supported but the rebuttals are beyond specious.
    NOBODY ever made shoes or handbags form sceloporus – they are a few inches long with spiny scaled – there’s not even enough of them to eat.
    Furthermore- if one wishes to assert that the pet trade to local tourists is any kind of factor- you really better be able to show that the lizard sites have some tourists or that the markets have sceloporus – or something that is not pure baloney.

    You reached too far. You deserve to pull back a stump. This is a bad omen and sign of decline.

  101. Russell M says:
    June 8, 2010 at 7:59 am

    When I was a kid (30 to 40 years ago), we had quadrillions of small lizards here on our ranch in South Texas. Now we have very few. Also now have very few quail and rabbits, and wild turkeys seem to be declining. What do all of these animals have in common? They nest on or in the ground. What species has moved in and drastically multiplied over the past 30 or 40 years? Fire ants. They kill and consume all types of ground-nesting animals, sometimes including newborn calves.
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Yes and now they are headed for Washington DC. They are already past Durham NC and on their way north by leaps and bounds (about 10-20 years to travel the length of NC)

    Do you think they will do us a favor and wipe out the not so rare species of two legged snakes in Washington DC???

  102. Don’t need to go to no stinkin’ third world hellholes to count lizards when I can create a model to predict their decline.

    With that in mind, I’m putting the finishing touches now on a model now that clearly demonstrates the recent rapid Amazon deforestation is due solely to climate change. I then plan to extrapolate it to show how a slight temperature change in the Antarctic resulted in a total extinction of the forest population there.

  103. “But for the phenomenon to be linked to climate change, the pattern would need to be seen globally. Sites connected Sinervo with researchers in Chile and Argentina, where Sites has been working for a decade. Sinervo also worked with researchers who documented lizard declines in Africa, Australia, and Europe.”

    Five continents show the exact same pattern *as predicted* by research and it’s explained away by kids selling lizards in Mexico. Interesting way to avoid the point. But hey, some guy in Texas saw some lizards outside, so there’s no issue here. BTW, it got cold again this winter, Global Warming is such a joke.

    Funny here how the hypothesis (Mexican kids are decimating global lizard populations) is accepted as proved because, duh, global warming is a hoax created by those rich research scientists to pay for their Ferraris. Oh, and look at shoe prices, doesn’t that prove the Mexican Kid theory?

  104. RoPiNi says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    “But hey, some guy in Texas saw some lizards outside, so there’s no issue here. ” ___________________________________________________________
    RoPiNi,

    I’m that “guy in Texas”. Please point out in my statement where I said there is no issue. For all I know, the advance of fire ants (a non-native species which arrived in Texas in the 1950’s) could be due to global warming, but I’d need a few million in grant dollars to answer that definitively.

  105. RoPiNi says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    “But for the phenomenon to be linked to climate change, the pattern would need to be seen globally. Sites connected Sinervo with researchers in Chile and Argentina, where Sites has been working for a decade. Sinervo also worked with researchers who documented lizard declines in Africa, Australia, and Europe.”

    Five continents show the exact same pattern *as predicted* by research and it’s explained away by kids selling lizards in Mexico. Interesting way to avoid the point.

    ——

    But you miss the point. First and foremost, one needs to know the details of each one of those lizard declines before one leaps to any conclusion that may or may not apply to all of them.

    What exactly is this “exact same pattern” you refer to? Why can only climate change explain it, if it actually exists at all?

    Second, the key point is that there are many potential factors which may contribute to the decline of any species but you, like these researchers (Sites et al), jumped to the climate change conclusion.

    And what makes this particular case so dubious is that whatever climate changes which may have impacted this species since the baseline 1970s observations have been so insignificant relative to the long history of much more dramatic climate changes that these lizards have survived that this conclusion borders on the ridiculous.

    One can selectively look at all the continents and find examples of birds whose populations have declined for a variety of known reasons other than climate change.

    Following your/this logic one would jump to the conclusion that they were all caused by climate change.

    No wonder people find these stories increasingly laughable. Definitely not objective science, to put it mildly.

  106. Jeff M….

    “I can’t tell you if he’s just an AGW tool since I haven’t worked closely with him.

    So I think it would be nice and wait until we’ve seen the data and the alternate explanations before making fun of or mocking him.”

    When he doesn’t show or answer your second Q, you will have the answer to your first.

    As an aside,every year since 1984,at this time of year I’m kept busy keeping the local kiddies/toddlers away from the baby garter/garden snakes around my backyard and garden. Haven’t seen one yet this year. Mind you,that could have something to do with March thru today being 8C below normal,and ground temps haven’t warmed up yet.

    But then being cold blooded,you would think the little guys would be nuts by now(/sarc)

  107. “For all I know, the advance of fire ants (a non-native species which arrived in Texas in the 1950′s) could be due to global warming, but I’d need a few million in grant dollars to answer that definitively.”

    Great, go and finish your doctorate, write up a proposal and we’ll see how it goes. Someone’s got to pay that Ferrari that all research scientists drive.

    You could have just said, “I have no idea how reasearch grants are done” and saved everyone some time.

    “Al Gored says: ”

    Haha, you added a ‘d’ to Al Gore’s name, that’s genius. I’m expecting great things from your insights.

    “First and foremost, one needs to know the details of each one of those lizard declines before one leaps to any conclusion that may or may not apply to all of them. ”

    That’s what they did. “Sinervo also worked with researchers who documented lizard declines in Africa, Australia, and Europe.”

    I’m pretty sure one of those other scientists would have noted all the Mexican kids running around snatching up lizards.

    “What exactly is this “exact same pattern” you refer to? ”

    Here in the article….you might want to read it before you next set of questions…”The researchers surveyed lizard populations, studied the effects of rising temperatures on lizards, and used their findings to *develop a predictive model of extinction risk*. Their model accurately predicted specific locations on five continents (North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia) where previously studied lizard populations have already gone locally extinct.”

    “Why can only climate change explain it, if it actually exists at all? “”

    Because outside of a few strange areas, everyone else has been noticing, and documenting, how the changing climate is affecting the world. BTW, you maight want to read the article again, “They later connected the lizards’ decline to climate records and studied the effect of rising temperatures on lizard physiology and behavior. For example, cold-blooded lizards can’t forage for food when their bodies get too hot – they must seek shade because they can’t regulate their own temperature. The researchers found that the hours per day when the temperature allowed foraging dropped significantly.”

    Having a PhD in herpetology might help here. That way one can accurately gauge how changing temperatures affect cold-blooded animals. Sadly, it’s not as simple as “it’s hot, they should be going faster, durhh, durhh.”

    “Second, the key point is that there are many potential factors which may contribute to the decline of any species but you, like these researchers (Sites et al), jumped to the climate change conclusion.”

    Right, the Mexican Kid Theory. So where’s the data on that? Or is it the “Manolo Blahnik Great Shoe Extinctions Theory”? Have you collected any data at all? When you have a theory that accurately explains the data, a predictive algorithm, and correlates to known physiologies, you publish. When does the MKT appear in print?

    “One can selectively look at all the continents and find examples of birds whose populations have declined for a variety of known reasons other than climate change.

    Following your/this logic one would jump to the conclusion that they were all caused by climate change.”

    One can make up any sort of fantastical study to prove their point), but that has nothing to do with science, nor logic. Unless you have a link for the one you mentioned. I’m sure with their many millions of dollars most research scientists would be more than happy to put this together for you, as it seems to be a totally relevant arm of science

  108. I believe the real reason for the lizards’ disappearance from Mexico is that they’ve gone north of the border to sell car insurance.

  109. Quit using weed killers and pesticides at home, then watch as the wildlife shows sudden appreciation of your cleaner enviro.

  110. RoPiNi says:
    June 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    To repeat: And what makes this particular case so dubious is that whatever climate changes which may have impacted this species since the baseline 1970s observations have been so insignificant relative to the long history of much more dramatic climate changes that these lizards have survived that this conclusion borders on the ridiculous.

    This is the bottom line for me. Nothing you wrote changes this at all. Moreover, I didn’t learn anything new from your post at all.

  111. Related article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8727863.stm
    Snakes in mysterious global decline
    “Populations shrank even in protected areas, suggesting that the progressive loss of habitat for wild animals being seen all over the world is not the only cause.”

    Perhaps we should be bemused as to the decline of Tuna stocks also.

  112. First thing I would look at is the chemicals being dumped into the sinks/waterways of America, and ask questions of the EPA. What do you want to bet that there is a cozy relationship similar to the MMS?

  113. Scott Brim says:
    June 8, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Didn’t the lizards evolve long ago during periods in earth’s geologic history which were from five to ten degrees Centigrade warmer than today? As is said in the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia article concerning the evolutionary history of reptiles, “The origin of the reptiles lies about 320–310 million years ago, in the steaming swamps of the late Carboniferous period…..”
    That was one of the salient points I was trying to make in my rambling, and somewhat disjointed post. Another I would like to make is regarding the live reptile trade, which is not “a few kids selling some lizards to tourists” , but is rather a multimillion dollar business, with a long history of disregarding what regulations there are, which, in many countries is nil. If people are barely surviving, they usually have better things to do than obey laws regarding 6 inch lizards. This quote is from the Humane society website regarding the illegal reptile trade.: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/exotic_pets/facts/reptile_trade.html

    “While many pet reptiles are bred in captivity, many are still taken from the wild or born of wild-caught parents. Each year nearly 2 million live reptiles are imported into the United States, and about 9 million are exported. This poorly regulated trade leaves behind depleted wild populations and damaged habitats. Brute force or gasoline may be used to rouse reptiles from their burrows.

    Harsh capture techniques, compounded by poor shipping methods and inadequate care, kill many reptiles before they reach the pet store or dealer. An estimated 90 percent of wild-caught reptiles die in their first year of captivity because of physical trauma prior to purchase or because their owners cannot meet their complex dietary and habitat needs. ”
    Now, think about this: how many pet stores are there in your hometown? How many sell reptiles? 80 percent of reptiles caught in the wild die in transit, or while awaiting a commercial broker. 20-45%(according to Live Science.com) of those that make it to a pet store will die of shock, poor treatment, and inadequate facilities. Reptiles in captivity require very intensive care, which varies from species to species. Geckos are nocturnal, and hide from the light that other species require for the production of vitamin e3, a vital supplement. Geckos receive e3 directly from prey. Most species will require a 12 gallon aquarium (minimum for 3 six inch lizards), a full spectrum light, often referred to as “grow and show” ground cover (varies by species, gravel, sand, bark) and must have a varied diet (fence lizards and anoles are insectivores, Iguanas are herbivores, and the bearded dragon is an omnivore) to support good health, and yet, most are sold to unprepared purchasers as “low maintenance” pets.

    http://www.animallaw.info/articles/ddusitwr.htm

    “Modern reptiles are found upon every continent except Antarctica. However, the ones most frequently seen in the pet trade are mostly from isolated regions of the globe. These regions are typically further characterized by a certain socioeconomic characteristic. Pressure from buyers and pressure upon collectors to procure specimens unfortunately may act in concert with socioeconomic pressures upon the individuals where the reptiles live to provide these animals. Economic Pressures

    There is an immense pressure from buyers who desire reptiles as pets. According to TRAFFIC (http://www.traffic.org), the exotic animal trade is second only to the drug trade on a global scale. An old adage of economics dictates that when there is demand, there will be sellers. Moreover, the greater the demand, especially when the supply is limited (either due to resources or legal regulations/ramifications), the more people will take on risks to sell for a profit.

    The collection of reptiles, and all wild-caught exotics, does provide much needed income for indigenous people. A native farmer may make a paltry sum in farming, which may be supplemented generously by supplying animals to the foreign marker.

    An article appearing in the East African Standard (Nairobi) detailed just how important collecting wild animals may be for poor locals. Hundreds of villagers who were eager to get rich flocked a rural market armed with chameleons they hoped to sell. However, the much awaited buyer failed to arrive leaving villagers unsure what to do with the animals. Many were abandoned at the market. In all, about 3,000 chameleons had been captured and brought to the market. The get-rich frenzy spread through word of mouth and attracted people from considerable distances. The villagers were reacting to some posters claiming a chameleon buyer would come to the market. One woman had trekked for about four kilometers to the market. One octogenarian proved that age was not a deterrent as he managed to take four from his coffee estate. He claimed he would return the animals to his farm if the transaction turned out to be illegal. Amos Kareithi, Hundreds At Chameleon Market That Never Was, The East African Standard (Nairobi) (May 2, 2005).”
    My point is this: Do not underestimate the cupidity of the live caught reptile trade. Fence lizards are not very exotic in the U.S., but the primary market for them is elsewhere, Japan and Europe.

  114. Smokey you are very funny.

    Speaking of the lizard trade again, a tidy sum to be made from large populations where culture is based on traditional [chinese] medicine (TCM). Wiki has a clear photo of ginseng, gecko and wolfberry:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_medicine

    and this chap discusses dried lizard: –

    http://www.weirdmeat.com/2007/01/lizard-soup.html

    TCM may compete with genome research, where Prof Sites is listed Appendix 1, p12 as providing comment:-

    http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Research/Sequencing/SeqProposals/GreenAnoleLizardAmericanAlligatorSeq.pdf

    The TRAFFIC website provides reports on an extensive trafficking enterprise based in Malaysia.
    I imagine that these trades occur where there is poor governance and corruption, cheap labour, large numbers of fauna [or flora] and the capacity to access cheap transport to markets or have very good cost recovery in such an enterprise.

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