Climate Alarmists Discover Natural Selection

"Snowshoe Hare, Shirleys Bay" by D. Gordon E. Robertson - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -,_Shirleys_Bay.jpg#/media/File:Snowshoe_Hare,_Shirleys_Bay.jpg

Snowshoe Hare, Shirleys Bay” by D. Gordon E. RobertsonOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Snow hares – fluffy, cute, less likely to eat you than a Polar Bear. The ideal candidate for the next green icon, except for their distressing lack of rarity, and their unfortunate ability to adapt to changes in their environment.

Can Evolution Save Snow Hares From Climate Change?

Species go extinct unless they can adapt to changes to their environment. And while the climate change caused by humans is often viewed as a future threat to wildlife, it’s already having a measurable impact on species today.

One potential casualty of climate change is the snowshoe hare. A close relative of rabbits, the hare’s hind feet (its ‘snowshoes’) have a large surface area to stop it sinking into snow. It also has another adaptation for life in North America: the animal’s brown summer coat turns white in winter, providing camouflage to hide it from predators.

“This is one of the most direct demonstrations of mortality costs for a wild species facing climate change,” [L Scott] Mills said in a press release. And while snowshoe hares aren’t currently endangered, the biologists predict that the higher death rate will lead to a significant drop in population levels by the end of the century.

But the chances of extinction can be minimized by a conservation strategy called ‘evolutionary rescue’: if a population is made-up of a large variety of individuals, it will have a deep gene pool, maximizing the likelihood that at least some individuals carry a genetic variant that would help them to survive and reproduce. This would enable a population to adapt through natural selection. For hares, this means individuals with genes that make them molt at times which match snow cover (it’s unknown whether they would be able to adapt in time).

Read more:

The abstract of Scott’s study;

Anthropogenic climate change has created myriad stressors that threaten to cause local extinctions if wild populations fail to adapt to novel conditions. We studied individual and population-level fitness costs of a climate change-induced stressor: camouflage mismatch in seasonally colour molting species confronting decreasing snow cover duration. Based on field measurements of radiocollared snowshoe hares, we found strong selection on coat colour molt phenology, such that animals mismatched with the colour of their background experienced weekly survival decreases up to 7%. In the absence of adaptive response, we show that these mortality costs would result in strong population-level declines by the end of the century. However, natural selection acting on wide individual variation in molt phenology might enable evolutionary adaptation to camouflage mismatch. We conclude that evolutionary rescue will be critical for hares and other colour molting species to keep up with climate change.

Read more:

The main thrust of Scott’s point seems to be the need for a healthy, diverse population. But imagine if Scott’s findings apply to other species? Could it be possible, that species are capable of adapting to altered conditions, through natural selection, and that a couple of degrees of global warming isn’t quite the catastrophic threat we’ve been led to believe?

157 thoughts on “Climate Alarmists Discover Natural Selection

  1. Can Evolution Save Snow Hares From Climate Change?

    Well it has, so far. They didn’t arrive as they are today from thin air, and there’s been no shortage of climate change since the first snow hare rolled in to town.

  2. Spectacularly desperate.

    Are you trying to demonstrate your scientific illiteracy or is this just a joke?

    • Evolution is true.
      It has lots of evidence.
      Read up on the subject before spouting your anti-sceptic pseudoscience.

      • Evolution is a scientific fact, ie, an observation. And, as you say, for past evolution not directly observed, there is all the evidence in the world and none against it.

        The fact of evolution was inferred from the evidence before being directly observed, just as was the hypothesis, now an observation, that the earth goes around the sun.

  3. Snowshoe hares are highly fecund, so should have no trouble adapting to any changes in the timing of snow melt. They inhabit a variety of habitats from southern Appalachia to northern Alaska.

    Genus Lepus has been around for about seven million years, so has experienced, survived and thrived in conditions a lot warmer than this century will ever be.

    • You apparently have not been listening. There is no history or creditable knowledge prior to the satellite era.

      • But satellite data doesn’t support agendas, so if there were rabbit satdat, it would have to be overcome.

      • My tree ring data shows, clearly, that there were large populations of Snowshoe hares living in South Florida during the ice age, they only moved north as the glaciers receded.

        [The mods have found that most older snowshoe hairs now in FL moved back there as “barefoot baldies.” .mod]

  4. Species go extinct unless they can adapt to changes to their environment….

    What are these idiots talking about……snowshoe hares range from Tennessee to Alaska

    • Not to mention all of the animals that have been transplanted all over the world by man weather intentional or not. IE Boas’ in the Everglades or sheep brought to America, etc. How are these animals able to survive these sometimes different climates?

    • Yup. They’re highly adaptable. Their diverse populations and subspecies obviously live in environments with a wide range of snow melt dates.

      Also, some populations of the closely related Arctic hare also change their coat colors seasonally, while others stay white all year.

      • also a very wide range of temperatures. 40 below not too uncommon in winter in Northern Labrador, pretty uncommon in southern New England. I don’t think a couple of degrees warmer by 2100 is going to bother them. Plus the hare populations cycle dramatically over a few years, rising and then crashing. It would be difficult to discern any effect of climate on this cycle.

  5. Might suggest your causes and consequences are not quite aligned
    The food source (rabbits) would decrease with larger litters of coyotes

    Humans Kill off coyotes = more rabbits
    More rabbits mean more food for survivors
    More food for survivors + bigger litters of Coyotes
    More coyotes get less food, = smaller litters = more rabbits
    Another cycle of ups and downs that even without human interference occurs quite commonly throughout
    all species and history.

    • While that’s a joke pic, an owner of a pet rabbit was overheard to say, “these have got to be the meanest, most evil creature on the planet. No wonder everything out there hunts them down and kills them”.

      In my estimation and having encounters with his rabbit, he might have been right. I talked to the folks at the feed store (they also sell rabbits, chicks, etc.,) about that rabbit’s behavior and they allowed as how we had rabbits figured pretty close. Your rabbit may vary.

      • We had a really mean pet rabbit once. Nobody could get near it. We had to “burlap sack” it to give it to Gramma to take care of. Mmmmm, stew.

      • While that’s a joke pic, an owner of a pet rabbit was overheard to say, “these have got to be the meanest, most evil creature on the planet. No wonder everything out there hunts them down and kills them”.

        @ Alan: This owner of several pet rabbits would caution that perhaps THAT pet owner A) was speaking of an unfixed rabbit, and B) didn’t “speak rabbit” fluently, which are the two pitifully common reasons for aggressive house rabbits. As humans we readily “talk to” cats & dogs almost without thinking about it; Rabbit-ese is a bit less second-nature, and has something of a learning curve to it.

        Also, an unfixed bunny is nothing more than a carrier slave for its genetic code; any personality not associated with mating/territorial-ism tends to get, let’s say, overwhelmed by the the hormonal drives. (Think “teenagers, only worse!”)

      • You make some fine and true points, Smokey and my earlier remarks were more an attempt at humor and certainly didn’t paint the entire picture.
        While all members of that household (and this frequent visitor,) were all left bleeding at times by that fixed female rabbit, we all grew quite fond of her and she of us. I would no sooner enter their door than here would come Miss Bunny, grunting and nipping at me until I gave her a good rubbin’ around the ears. On the other hand, she would often come sit beside someone, but would accept no touching at all, she just wanted to sit there beside you.
        Her behavior was very curious. She used her teeth as a means of communication, as much as anything else. She would frequently give a low- pressure nip as a signal that she wanted something. She was quick to jump into someone’s lap, but try to pick her up uninvited and she’d draw blood- life was on her terms, or else.
        That household also included cats and a dog, which made for some interesting antics. She loved to sneak up on the sleeping dog, bite her on the tail and then run for cover. The gentle old dog would yelp, but never hurt her and they were cuddling companions. Her passing saddened all of us.

        I suspect that the need to breed is close to paramount in bunny behavior. She was frequently visited by male cottontails, but she made them pay for their amorous ardour and kept them at bay, mostly uninterested in them and being too busy excavating the back yard, trying for that perfect burrow.

      • @Alan, lovely story, Sir, sounds like a bun after me own heart: willing to snuggle but don’t strangle me! Isn’t it funny how it’s also the females as seem more prone to talking with their teeth and claws?

        Meaning the bunnies, of course. ^_^

      • All of the pet bunnies I have had have been sweet and completely domesticated. The harshest treatment I ever got from one was when she politely moved my finger out of her way when she really wanted food more than petting. I thought it was LOL funny.

  6. ” the biologists predict that the higher death rate ”

    From what? Hungry humans that can’t grow food when the next cooling trend happens?

    • The biologist have it easy. They go study a major regional heat wave. They find that in this major heat wave many species suffered and declined in population in that area. (The more species, the more potential grants.) They look at the IPCC modeled mean GMT expectation. (You know, the mean of all the models which is of course far warmer then the observations. (But why let science 101 get in the way of your grant)
      They then project/exaggerate the harms based on way to warm model projections, based on linear harm in all warming, ignoring any areas of potential benefit, ignoring that decades of warming trend , even if it happened, is far easier to adjust to then two years of instant drought.

      After rabbits, its oh look, there is a squirrel, lets get a squirrel grant, after squirrels its,,, thus all government scientists are now PHD “grantoligists”

  7. I get a small shiver at what I think this guy has in mind. Evolutionary rescue? I’m worried these guys are going to tamper with the genome to make them turn brown earlier and for longer. We would end up with populations of frankenbunnies. And then when the climate changes the wrong way and they are killed off, they will recall (with suitable revisions – probably doable electronically by that time – ) that says, yeah we saw the problem back in 2016 but we just weren’t in time to save them. If only we had closed all the fossil fuel energy off to reduce carbon and all the nuclear stations… well.. just for the heck of it.

  8. Towers being erected in the wind with long blades are decreasing some of the predators. Maybe that will aid in the survival. Also, we could cull the ones that change color at the wrong time and hurry the evolution along. All we need to do is think of something to do with the culled ones. What might that be?
    Going outside now.

      • Actually, I find snowshoe hares to be very gamey. I like them best in a slow cooker, carrots, potatoes, onions, and wine, producing lots of fine gravy, . Simmered all day. Coyotes should be so lucky. GK

  9. Proceeding from assumption that owls, kites and eagles would be major predators of snowshoe hares
    Here in Ontario we’ve already worked significantly to balance these predatory species. It’s The (windmilling) Circle of Life.

    • Tiburon,

      I’m glad I read through the comments before posting. I was going to say the same. The hares are going to be just fine as the avian predators will be kept in check by the wind turbines. The ones that don’t get chopped up may need an easy meal.

    • You’re onto something . . . early warming thaws before color modification would leave the hares sitting ducks for owls, eagles, and hawks . . . a harey race for survival . . . only hope for ’em are the bird blenders.

  10. Completely in line with Birdynumnum’s comment above. Snowshoe Hare are a classic example of a boom – bust animal cycle. Completely in line with the abundance of hares – less prey… more prey …less hares. Also if prey doesn’t increase then disease kills them off. Without accounting for that cycle, any correlation of population abundance to climate change is total garbage.

    By the way, simmer your snowshoe hare for about an hour before roasting or frying, otherwise it is like eating leather. Cooked properly, delicious. Try it with sourKraut (sp.) Delicious. From Nova Scotia Canada.. with a few snares out there just hoping for organic, pesticide free, free-range meal. PS. There is no such thing as a hare that dies a peaceful Walt Disney life. They all die feeding something else so it may as well be me.

  11. In the fifties the Prairie Provinces introduced bounties on the Red Fox. Thousands if not millions were butchered, and shot from aircraft. In no time at all the entire region was crawling with Jack Rabbits (the coloquial name for the snowshoe hare). These large rodents multiply like rabbits without predatory pressure. Incidentally, they are really tasty, and a big male over ten pounds can feed about three people.
    “Evolutionary rescue” indeed! The species is a favourite meal for the Canada Lynx and the Bobcat. Lynx population variations are always a couple of years out of phase with the jack rabbit populations.

    • The Jack “rabbit” is a different species of hare from the snowshoe, but related. Your point however of course is valid.

      • Yes those I shot as a boy are Lepus townsendii.
        The article talks about Lepus Amercanus.
        It would take a connoiseur to differentiate the two……….especially when stewed.

    • Do you know Red Fox is and evasive spices not native to North America. Introduce to America since native foxes would not play fairly with fox hounds, rather the have a long chase native foxes found a safe place to hide in far to quickly for the fox hound crowd.

  12. “snowshoe hare” taxinomically just how different is that from a “regular hair” except for what seems to be a very shallow gene for white fur….like ermine or fox, or bear, or…..

  13. Thanks, Eric Worrall. That snow hare is so mimetic that it’s difficult to see it’s there. But beware of their pointy teeth, if they proliferate we might need to use the Holy Grenade of Antioch.

    “Anthropogenic climate change has created myriad stressors that threaten to cause local extinctions if wild populations fail to adapt to novel conditions.”
    I wish natural climate change could be studied more, so we could begin to assess it and find out if there is any “anthropogenic climate change” and how much.

  14. There’s only one effective way to kill off coyotes, you need to offer them an open account at ACME, and then let them blow themselves up.

    • 1oldnwise and Mark,

      Did this cull of Coyotes lead to a Road Runner Plague?
      And did the Local Council have to hire more Coyotes even more desperate and feral than the original, to fix it.?
      Did the ACME share price go gangbusters?
      As a result of all the running and explosives did the temperature (rocket!) in the Canyon.
      Have Mr Mann, Schmidt and Karl and the 2 Naomis done a paper explaining this phenomena?

      ‘Beloved Cartoon Characters endangered by (RUNAWAY!) Climate Change Induced Canyon Temperature Rise’

      KABOOM!! and BEEP! BEEP!

  15. natural selection ≠ evolution

    natural selection reduces the gene pool variability, bottlenecks or eliminates the population.

    • Natural selection is one of a number of evolutionary processes. Consider for example the woolly mammoth. It evolved via natural selection from northern populations of the steppe mammoth in response to colder conditions. Hair got longer, fat layers thicker, ears smaller, trunks shorter, with different “fingers” at trunk end in order to gather different vegetation, teeth adapted to process steppe-tundra resources, etc. The steppe mammoth continued to exist in still favorable habitats farther south.

      [Then humans evolved ways to live further north … and both promptly went extinct. 8<) .mod]

      • Mod,

        True, that, although dwarf woollies survived until shockingly recently on Wrangel Island and finally managed to die out apparently without benefit of human hunters.

        The equivalent of the steppe mammoth in North America was the Columbian, which evolved here from immigrant steppe mammoths. Some also consider the Imperial and Channel Islands Pygmy Mammoth as separate species from the Columbian. I don’t, because DNA analysis shows that Columbians could breed successfully even with woollies.

      • GM,

        Mammoths are a very interesting subject. When we see pics (artists’ renditions) of them they’re usually shown as a single mammoth, or maybe a couple of them.

        But that’s unrealistic. They probably were part of a large group, and there are studies claiming that there were many millions in Norrth America alone. Then suddenly, they all vanished.

        It’s not that easy finding good sources of info. This one was up for a short time, then it disappeared. I used the Wayback Machine to find it again, but now it’s missing all the graphics:

        Oh, wait… found another page with graphics:

        Don’t let the ‘creation science’ stuff put you off. It’s fascinating information and there’s no proselytizing. There are a lot of unanswered questions. I think anyone who reads WUWT will find it interesting.

      • So the question then is how is it that Elephants made it through to the modern epoch while being hunted by very capable human hunters themselves. I think maybe too much is made of the impact of humans hunting in the last 15 thousand years or so.

      • fossilsage

        So the question then is how is it that Elephants made it through to the modern epoch while being hunted by very capable human hunters themselves. I think maybe too much is made of the impact of humans hunting in the last 15 thousand years or so.

        Rather, you could argue how much more effective the Northern European and Northern Siberian (who then became the North American) hunters were who killed off all of their Woolly Mammoths, Mastodons, Cave Bears, sabre tooth tigers, dire wolves, and giant camel/sloth/beaver prey as quickly as they could settle every area … While the African hunters were never able to hunt any of their prey to extinction. (This could also show that the African hunters were smart enough NOT to hunt their large prey to extinction.)

      • So all those species you propose are more susceptible to pressure from paleolithic tribes than bison, grey wolves, antelope, Elk….and on and on? Even with such novel innovations as “buffalo jump” I think we’ve allowed a little too much modern anthropomorphic hubris cloud our judgement on issues relating to ecological succession. Human impact on the evolution of the biosphere notwithstanding.

      • The Woolly Mammoth went extinct due to the norther steep turning to tundra. I assume the could not compete with the buffalo in the southern regions. Of course you not going to hear that from either the climate change people of ecologist since most of them suffer from blame human first crowd.

      • Eurasian and American mammoths didn’t evolve alongside human hunters, as did African and Asian elephants. They were thus naive and more easily killed.

        Mammoths survived previous glacial-interglacial transitions, so Holocene climate change alone can’t explain their extinction, along with other Pleistocene megafauna. The development by modern H. sapiens of anti-mammoth tech does however offer an explanation for their disappearance. The wipe out of Northern Hemisphere megafauna looks like what happened earlier in Australia and later on New Zealand and other oceanic islands when people arrived there.

        The mammoths probably lived in large matriarchal family groups like elephants. Adult males might well have been more less solitary. But IMO the steppe-tundra could not have supported vast herds of millions of woollies nor even the steppe such herds of steppe and Columbian mammoths.

      • G Maximus…There is no case to be made for African Elephants being “less naive” than Mammoths anyone who studies a bit on African tribal hunting of them would know that the technology and know how to kill them existed throughout Africa. Also ignored is the domestication of Elephants in Asia. I think that sometimes sociologists have had undue influence on ecologists with no background at all in a hunting culture who posit speculation as a hypothesis. It doesn’t help understanding of the evolution of ecosystems in a scientific sense.

      • Fossil,

        You seem to have misunderstood my point. Elephants were accustomed to hunting and survived, while mammoths were naive and died out under the onslaught of new, advanced techniques and tools. Also, elephants were not at the same time subjected to rapid climate change, as Africa and South Asia altered less at the Holocene transition than did northern Eurasia and North America.

  16. The ivory towered academics in their isolated from reality, very expensive  and comfortable A/C quarters in the scientific climate, social and environmental la-la-lands of the universities and the various publicly funded science establishments only need to look in a mirror for a classic case of a highly evolved evolutionary adaption to just about any climatic and environmental and OPM funding situation that can be found on this planet.

    [ OPM= Other People’s Money ]

  17. I remember reading this somewhere.
    “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic
    statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have… Each of
    us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and
    being honest.”
    This should be a permanent ‘Header’ for so called ‘Academic Papers’ like this.

  18. “Anthropogenic climate change has created myriad stressors that threaten to cause local extinctions if wild populations…..”

    1. The claim that climate change has created ‘myriad stressors’ is simply alarmist hand waving.

    2. Wild populations, by definition, always have and always will face myriad stressors, What’s new?

  19. something of a pointless paper IMO.

    Hares develop white coats in winter in Great Britain too.

    As do stoats.

  20. The Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service were presenting an alternative
    to the Wyoming ranchers for controlling the coyote population. It seems
    that after years of the ranchers using the tried and true method of
    shooting or trapping the predators, the Sierra Club had a “more humane”
    solution to this issue.

    What they were proposing was for the animals to be captured alive. The
    males would then be castrated and let loose again. This was ACTUALLY
    proposed by the Sierra Club and by the U.S. Forest Service. All of the
    ranchers thought about this amazing idea for a couple of minutes. Finally
    an old fellow wearing a big cowboy hat in the back of the conference room
    stood up, tipped his hat back and said;
    “Son, I don’t think you understand our problem here… these coyotes ain’t
    f**kin’ our sheep… they’re eatin’ ’em!”
    The meeting never really got back to order.

  21. Quote: Species go extinct unless they can adapt to changes to their environment. And while the climate change caused by humans is often viewed as a future threat to wildlife, it’s already having a measurable impact on species today.

    Four major problems. Two of them in each sentence.

    1. The first sentence assumes that the species has a limited range.
    2. The first sentence assumes that the changes to the animals environment will be detrimental.
    3. The second sentence assumes that climate change is caused by humans.
    4. The second sentence asserts that climate change is having a measurable impact on species today.

    None of the four problems appears to be addressed by the authors of this “work”. This is a major problem for science today. Forget the children not knowing what snow is, I’m concerned that they will not know what science is.

    For interested readers my interlocutor at their ABC has now conceded that temperature = baseline + anomaly. He appears unable to see that this so by definition. The present issue is whether the global temperature announced by NOAA in 1998 was several degrees warmer than the global temperature they announced in 2016. I’m finding it quite interesting going one-on-one against an alarmist.

    • I think they’re also assuming human intervention is going to have a good outcome. History says otherwise.

    • Considering the Snowshoe hair would not have been able to survive on a galcial mass the covered over half of North America 15000 years ago I would think extinct talk should be laugh right out of any scientific journal today since the hair now has all of North America to inhabit except for a small southern region, isn’t the real threat the return of the glaciers since that will impact from more geography?

    • From the press release: “(climate change) it’s already having a measurable impact on species today.”

      What a baseless piece of conjecture that was. For something that’s apparently so “measurable” I notice no actual measurements! Hares in Canada experience a 70 degree temperature range in one single year but are being negatively affected by an increase of some fraction of a degree over many generations?

      Have these people ever been outside? Or read anything related to biology? Or anything at all besides “Grant writing for Dummies?”

      Remember, everyone has less because the state took what was yours and gave it to these nincompoops. The Academic bubble can’t burst soon enough. So many real problems going wanting while fools take our money and give us nothing in return.

  22. Here’s another dire prediction of system collapse by Aunty in Oz and one to keep our eye on in future like Tim Flannery’s rainfall and runoff prediction-
    Will it evolve again or won’t it? Stay tuned folks for the seasons of rain and snow to do their job again but by that time this catastrophic prediction will be long buried and forgotten for some new devastating horror for the lone bushwalker photographer.

    • Yes and a very complex issue is blown out of all proportion by the politics of the mind numbingly stupid catchall of Climate Change! The flora of these ecosystems is one of the most flammable vegetation types in the world! Many have evolved to be flammable and require it to seed. ‘Hot’ fires kill trees and that is caused by a lack of regular fire!!

      Scleromorphic graminoids with high silica contents and leaf surface to volume ratios have resulted in long term retention of dead leaves within the plant which are resistant to decay. The consequence is an aerial fuel array that dries quickly allowing this vegetation to burn following one day without rain (Marsden-Smedley and Catchpole 1995).

      We have had a very dry year up to Friday this week, when Tasmania saw a record breaking downpour, causing flash flooding and drowning much of the state in drenching rain. What is not quoted in any of these stories about the fires, is that Tasmania at the same time, had its coldest winter in 50 years. So it was both dry and cold and wet and hot!

  23. Snowshoe hares have a huge range which covers areas having vastly different snow conditions. The color change is probably caused by some environmental factor. My guess would be temperature.

    I seriously doubt that the hares need genetic tampering to change the timing of their color change. The size of their range tells me that they easily adapt.

  24. “But the chances of extinction can be minimized by a conservation strategy called ‘evolutionary rescue’……”
    Best to let the hares decide that and not involve humans in what they think is best. Did they learn anything from the Yellowstone wolves/elk fiasco years ago?

  25. In US military survival training, I was taught some decades ago that snowshoe hares do not have enough survival potential to be worth hunting (snaring).
    Global warming must have changed that greatly, to big fat snowshoe hares. Cause maybe no Arctic snow? Need a /sarc?

  26. What is nauseatingly unscientific is that these AGW papers begin with a litany of AGW belief for which no proof is ever required. For example:

    Anthropogenic climate change has created myriad stressors that threaten to cause local extinctions if wild populations fail to adapt to novel conditions. We …

    This is equivalent to starting a paper with:

    “Recent confirmation of the lunar composition as being at least 99% blue cheese raises myriad challenges to planetary origins research as to how such a mass of dairy product came to be in orbit around Earth. We …”

  27. The Global Warming people have amazing skills. They are now able to forecast the Snow Hare population to the year 2100. Impressive. Not sure if the Polar Bears are still going to die in 10 years time. Maybe a Snow Hare diet will be a kick along for the Polar Bears.

  28. The Global Warming guys are now able to forecast the population of the Snow Hare right out to 2100. Going to be 80% more. Maybe this will help out the starving Polar Bears. All they have to do is change their diet from seals to Snow Hare?
    Looks like the Snow Hare breed like……Rabbits?

    • Would be interesting to see a polar bear chasing a snowshoe hare. Think the bunny might be a bit too manoeuverable in that scenario

  29. I wonder if I can get some help from “climate change” to rid us of our current rabbit plague? The bloody things are eating every blade of grass, digging holes everywhere, they’ve even ring-barked our lemon tree.
    It’s been very dry around here (El Nino) with nary a mosquito to be seen. This lack of mossies, an important calicivirus vector, seems to have allowed the rabbits on to do what they are famous for i.e. “breed like rabbits”.
    We had decent rain overnight hopefully it’s the start of a decent break, look forward to a few mossies. Didn’t think I’d every be wishing for those pests but we can deal with them more easily than we can with the bunnies.

    • Bob in Castlemaine

      I wonder if I can get some help from “climate change” to rid us of our current rabbit plague? The bloody things are eating every blade of grass, digging holes everywhere, they’ve even ring-barked our lemon tree.

      I’m thinking polar bears. Mammoths. Mammoth woolly polar bears. But it would be hotter … Mammoth bare polar bears.

    • If this is the same program that I saw tonight, I thought they did a reasonable job of linking history to climate change. They had decent descriptions of the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods and the Little Ice Age. Then they blew it in the last couple of minutes by babbling about man-made climate change. Still, I guess it would never have been shown on our oh-so-politicly-correct SBS if they hadn’t made the obligatory bow to the climate gods.

  30. “… Based on field measurements of radiocollared{sic} snowshoe hares, we found strong selection on coat colour molt phenology, such that animals mismatched with the colour of their background experienced weekly survival decreases up to 7%. In the absence of adaptive response…”

    Just how color adaptive were those radio collars?

    Again, researchers announce their assumptions without checking the variables they’ve added to the population. “Let’s radio collar these hares with uncomfortable unwieldy collars and see if predators catch them quicker?” Sayeth the researchers… Bears, weasel family, eagles, hawks, owls, coyotes, wolves, dogs, lynx, bobcats, cats, people…

    Then you have to wonder if they checked how radio collars appear to night vision predators or eagle sighted predators, or how the human battery powered radio collars smell to all of the scent gifted predators.

    So many faults, so little legitimate research, such big assumptions.

    Weekly survival decreased up to 7%, just what are the error bars on that?

      • You are correct fossilsage! I forgot that little conundrum that if the hares allowed themselves to get caught, they were already on borrowed time!

        Scott Wilmot Bennett:
        I shudder to think how correct you probably are!

        How do you make a white blob with dark spots for eyes stand out from piles of snow with dark spots? Why, with fluorescent collars?

        I’ll bet with you on that one.

      • To find the bunny behind the two dark spots concealed amongst other dark spots in a snowbank, just go “Shoooo!!!!” All those pairs of spots that magically turn into one will be rabbits.

  31. Something that doesn’t seem to have occurred to the scientits (SIC) that wrote this article is that snow bunnies don’t have built-in calendars. They turn white when it snows and turn back when the snow melts. It isn’t necessary to manipulate their genome to change the dates that this happens. Otherwise they couldn’t have survived changes in normal weather patterns, let alone the different latitudes they exist in.

  32. Allan (Robbo)

    Your absolute classic reply to Tom in Florida regarding satellites…

    …But satellite data doesn’t support agendas, so if there were rabbit satdat, it would have to be overcome…

    How well calibrated is your Classic Rabbit Satdat in providing RabSatData?

    Is it capable of measuring The Rabbit Randiness Scale or The Rabbit Migratory Process Precisely?

    Without Adjustments.

    I have spoken to Experts on this subject and anything more than a Hare’s Breath just will not do!

    • Hey Goose Boy,

      You need an asterisk and some of them ADJUSTMENTY Things in regards Hare’s Breath and Breadth and Hair’s Breath and Hairs Breadth and all of those things. You better be able to produce that Artistic License next time you go playin’ with generally ‘funny peculiar’ confusing sayings.

  33. Philosophy
    Biology <– Trying like heck to degrade to the bottom of the list.

    • Biology and real climatology outrank all the soft “sciences” and philosophy. No hard science has done more to improve human life than biology, especially if biochemistry be assigned to biology rather than chemisty. Unfortunately, climatology has been hijacked by “climate science”, ie GIGO computer gaming. Climatology is naturally far behind biology in degree of development, but once back on track, who knows what genuine scientists working in that field might discover.

  34. Actuality was you saw was the equilibrium reestablished,less coyotes mean more rabbits, more rabbits more food, on the coyote side more successful large litters, the key would to have limited the rabbits food source, less rabbits less coyotes, ecology 101 of course that not taught today.

    • One last thing if you really want to get rid of coyotes introduce mountain lions or timber wolfs, I assure you you will have less coyotes. You also will have more rabbits.

    • Mark luhman

      Actuality was you saw was the equilibrium reestablished,less coyotes mean more rabbits, more rabbits more food, on the coyote side more successful large litters, the key would to have limited the rabbits food source, less rabbits less coyotes, ecology 101 of course that not taught today.

      Acting now! on the well-thought-out and envri-approved precautionary principle, I recommend we IMMEDIATELY begin importing more mountain lions into Australia … to eat the excess coyotes we are going to need to import to control the excess rabbits we needed to import to …
      In fact, let’s export ALL of the mountain loons to Australia.

    • I live in Wyoming and I am fairly certain that rabbit populations, while definitely related to coyote populations, vary wildly from year to year and change upwards and downwards at a much faster pace then predator populations. When conditions are right. they can have multiple successful and large litters in a year and juveniles can begin reproducing in the same season they were born. There is a reason we have the old saying: “breeding like rabbits”. And conversely, they are also susceptible to disease and other factors that can quickly knock the population down to nearly non-existent. Driving around the state in any given year you are likely to encounter an area where there has been a population explosion. We non-scientific types call these “bunny plagues”. These are easy to recognize because there will be a 10 to 50 mile stretch of highway that is a nearly continuous patchwork of grease spots with gray bunny fur sticking out of them. It seems when bunnies over-populate they feel compelled, like lemmings, to commit suicide.

    • Your misconception is that natural selection is not evolution. As I said, it’s an evolutionary process. There are other evolutionary mechanisms, of course, but selection remains an important one. From your source:

      The debate in evolutionary theory now is between those who consider so-called “directional” processes, such as natural selection, more important than “stochastic” processes, such as reproductive isolation and genetic drift. During the late 20th century, advocates of new-fangled stochastic processes seemed to be getting the better of the discussion, but nowadays, good, old-fashioned darwinian mechanisms are once again gaining the theoretical and observational upper hand. The controversy resembles that in astrophysics, occasioned by observations in 1998 that the rate of expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating, so an old, abandoned conjecture of Einstein’s is new again.

      Science is rarely if ever settled. As the late, great Dr. Crichton said, “If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

  35. January 30, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    The litter size of the survivors increased to make up the difference, and so did the rabbit population

    Cool. more targets. Now please state the average Litter size with documentations going back ten years prior to the “Intervention” .Next Documentation of this increase of both animals. Plus reports from rangers.


  36. Rabbits : The lipid hypothesis implies that cholesterol, particularly LDL-cholesterol plays a key role in causing atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. It means that when it comes to heart disease, measures that elevate blood levels of LDL-cholesterol are usually bad and measures that lower it are good. The Seven Countries’ Study Incorrectly Links Dietary Fat to Heart Disease … Heart Study, which is often cited as proof of the lipid hypothesis. …… the doctor who somewhere back in the early 1900’s, did his studies on Rabbits. Rabbits are well known examples of Herbivores which eat grass and leaves. So when you feed Rabbits Cholesterol i.e. Meat don’t be surprised that they have clogged arteries. This was one of the bases that changed our diet and made us all sick.

    • Further the USDA and World Health Org., i.e. UN still push this low fat high carb diet, even though it has been proven wrong with out contention. Bottom line it’s identical to this Climate Change Farce, be ready for a very long battle.

  37. Gee, I wonder why the rabbits hair turns brown in the summer. Wouldnt be for camouflage would it?
    From polar bears on the tundra.
    Maybe polar bears will learn to change colour too so they can sneak up on the rabbits.
    Could turn out all white.

  38. jackbenimble333 bunny plagues = easy breakfasts for coyotes = more . . . I see a problem developing here . . .

  39. Environmentalist are killing the Snowshoe Hares!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    About 8-10 years ago declining snowshoe hares was a big issue in far upstate New York in the Adirondacks. Yes, the were blaming climate change.

    However, a study by the Adirondack Ecological Center – “Factors Regulating a Declining Snowshoe Hare Population” – Meg Klepack (Sorry the link is long dead) found that the reason for the decline of the bunnies was in fact because of the decline in logging.

    Snowshoe hares require underbrush for cover, and underbrush is something old growth Adirondack Boreas forest doesn’t naturally provide much of. However, areas that have been logged do and in the past the snowshoe hare population thrived alongside a thriving logging industry.

    The environmentalist in New York have been successful in significantly curtailing logging and as such the Snowshoe hare population has declined.

  40. Progressivists don’t give a rat’s patootie about individuals, only classifications. They abduct healthy wolves from Quebec and drop them in Colorado to be shot. They hang tracking devices on penguins, oblivious to the fact that such devices reduce the wearer’s survival prospects and make them unattractive to potential mates. They do these things not from empathy, but because they want to know what everything that moves is doing when they’re not around.

    Those who imagine themselves gods are, naturally, control freaks.

  41. At the risk of stating the obvious:

    There’s a reason it’s called “NATURAL selection”

    They don’t need your help, you idiots.

  42. Information science is proving Darwinian evolution by natural selection as utterly false.

    Problem: random mutation is far more likely to create errors than beneficial changes.

    ie 1/ 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one in 100 trillion for a 12 character sequence)

    I can prove it.

    Take this sentence:

    Biology is an occupation for the weakest of the science-minded investigators.

    There are 78 characters, including spaces.

    Let us say that we want to change it by darwinian random change, to:

    Biology is an occupation for the greatest of the science-minded investigators.

    That requires the change of 3 character in the right places:

    [space] -> g
    w -> r
    k -> t

    Amongst you biology “scientists”. Can you do the math to show the probability that this would happen.

    While you drool over the paper and fail to do this simple calculation, consider how many examples of gibberish would be created before you got the second sentence.

    Actual answer to be posted later…I’ll let the dummy biologists TRY to cipher it for a while.

      • I suggest you count the characters (you obviously didn’t) ..hint there is an extra space before the word “weakest”. There are 77, not including the extra space. :) 78 account for an extra space. HA! I can’t account for wysiwyg kerning in wordpress particularly with bolds, non-bolds, spaces and font selection.

        I knew some tedious person would criticize the question rather than answer the question. You must be a biologist, incapable of doing simple math.

        In a broader sense it doesn’t really matter anyway, if you understand the nature of the question.

        So since you can’t count, it is likely you can’t calculate the odds either. BUT I bet you 20 bucks you still BELIEVE in random variation as the mechanism within natural selection.

    • Hint #1,

      26 lower case letters
      26 upper case letters
      [space], hyphen, period

      55 possible characters

      any letters can change in random variation
      Each of the 78 letters can change
      Only 3 change.

      Hint #2
      for a single change…
      1/78 that [space] changes, 1/55 that it changes to g.= 1/4290

      [The mods are trying to figure out if this means it is always faster to misspell words, or that it is a miracle that any words are spelled correctly in the first place. .mod]

      • Appreciate the scathing analysis following a dramatic sidestep worthy of a true alarmist to a reasonable question.
        Do have a nice day.

        No further comment

      • mods,

        sinse I rarely speel w0rds proparli y3t eye am a d3zignar uf thee unf0rmasion, thear most bee somth1g intrinzic inn da n@atur3 off za deezein. In my case, I am certain it is miraculous.


    • Hint #3

      Once one character is changed, you don’t need to consider that one again.The same principle is true for the 3rd character.
      Not so for the character itself. They are independent events.

  43. Eric Worrall,
    I remember way back when (maybe early 1970’s) where there was a moth in England that had been white or light colored, turned darker because of the pollution and soot. When the pollution in London was cleaned up, the moth became lighter again.
    Of course, moths can evolve faster than hares, but it certainly could happen.
    What would most likely happen is that the range of regular brown rabbits would increase northward.

  44. Re: Worrall, Climate Alarmists Discover Natural Selection, 1/30/2016

    What do you get when you cross one species of Post Modern Science with another? You get pseudoscientific claptrap like that of Zimova, (Scott) Mills, and Nowak, linked from Worrall. The article uses the phrases Anthropogenic climate change, evolution, and natural selection in new and unsubstantiated ways.

    Anthropogenic climate change is the first three words of the paper, displayed at the top in the abstract. The phrase appears again as a conclusion immediately following the opening paragraph, which claims, background ‘natural’ stressors are now being exacerbated by myriad new human-induced challenges occurring on a global scale and at rapid rates. The paper treats this unmeasurable phenomenon as fact, then bases its predictions of snowshoe hare population growth on estimates of snow cover. And where those estimates come from a previous paper by co-author Mills where future snow cover is based on two IPCC emission scenarios.

    In science, a fact may be defined as an observation reduced by measurements and compared with standards (Popper’s metaphysical facts being an oxymoron.) Anthropogenic climate change demonstrated by computer programs, much less by such programs designed to evidence anthropogenic climate change, is not fact, and if a scientists must address it, he should do so as an unambiguous assumption, never fact.

    The emission scenarios applied in the papers are RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, representing increased radiative forcing by year 2100 of 4.5 and 8.5 Wm-2. As senior reviewer George Simpson, Head, MetOffice, told Guy Callendar (honored as inventor of the Callendar Effect, i.e., the Greenhouse Effect), it was impossible to solve the problem of the temperature distribution in the atmosphere by working out the radiation. That is as true today as it was in 1938, a fact which IPCC has managed to confirm with its GCM 95% confidence that the ECS (Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity) will be greater than 1ºC for a doubling of CO2. Scientists now estimate ECS from satellite measurements at less than 1ºC, a 5% confidence event. (The situation is far worse because what is measured is CO2 lagging temperature, not leading it as the ECS definition requires.) Again as Simpson told Callendar, The atmosphere was not in a state of radiative equilibrium. It never is, especially in the scientific sense of thermodynamic equilibrium.

    The thesis of Zimova, et al., depends on snow cover, independent of whether it has a human-induced component. The adjective anthropogenic is purely superfluous, and a sharp reviewer would have struck it by a simple application of Occam’s Razor. For an in-depth discussion of the use and misuse of the Razor, see WUWT, Is climate forecasting immune from Occam’s razor?, 12/12/2015.

    Nevertheless, the whole AGW movement has plowed ahead, notwithstanding misfortunes accumulated by the model. To make matters worse, Mills projected snow cover from measurements taken between 1970 and 1999, extrapolated using the emission scenarios. That brief time span of 29 years, just shy of a minimum climate cycle, were immediately followed by the celebrated, on-going hiatus, a period of about zero warming simultaneous with unrelenting CO2 emissions for almost the same duration. The best of the AR5 scenarios to use might have been RCP2.8, where IPCC models radiative forcing in decline from a 2030 peak of 3 Wm-2.

    The evolutionary side of Zimova, et al., fairs no better than the climate side. The problem starts with the opening sentence: Organisms have always been subjected to biotic and abiotic changes in their environment that forced them to either move or adapt in situ to avoid extinction. In no ordinary meaning of force can life, absent intelligence, be compelled to move or adapt. That is especially so in response to weather, much less climate change. Even humans will live, reproduce, and die tragically in flood planes year after year, and even increase the population at risk when given government insurance. Or in the path of volcanic eruptions (e.g. Mount Rainier; Yellowstone), or under threat of earthquakes and their hazards (California, Chile), or fires (California, Australia). Other forms of life have no way willfully to change their habits or genetics in response to their environment, including climate or predation. A population already inclined to drift might flourish in one environment over another, but that is a matter of accident, a diversity of behavior that made the race (variety or species) viable in the first place. And so it is with inheritance, too. Accidental variations will change the growth rate of any race, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. Some might call such changes coincident with environmental events forcings, but that is a colloquialism, not the discipline of language science demands.

    The suggestion by Zimova that species can be forced to change is in keeping with Darwin’s version of Natural Selection. But a better name for his invention is Supernatural Selection, since by modeling it after man’s selective breeding, he gave NS the power to accumulate favorable genetic changes, and to give those accumulated changes a direction by which to improve fitness and to win in the battle for survival. Certainly Darwin cannot be faulted for anthropomorphizing natural selection and for relying on intelligent design in 1859. The philosophy of science and even biology were in turmoil in the 19th Century, driven by the successes of Mendel against blended inheritance, and in physics from Dalton to Carnot to Joule to Maxwell. It’s past time to recognize Darwin 2.0 in which natural selection is reckoned as the mathematical consequence of saturated niches and the crowding of races. For more discussion of Darwin 2.0, (and heated negative reaction), see WUWT, Hot news, evolution cools, 3/17/15.

    On the next page, Zimova claims to quantify natural selection by measured and estimated population growth rates statistically linked to camouflage mismatch in snow. The authors claim to have demonstrated that selection against mismatch is capable of causing considerable population declines. We conclude that evolutionary rescue represents a critically important process to avert population declines due to future camouflage mismatch.

    The authors did demonstrate that camouflage mismatch caused population declines. But they have demonstrated neither Darwin, 1.0 or 2.0, natural selection, nor evolution. Population size and the distribution of phenotypes are ordinary topics of population ecology, and may be due to environmental changes or genetic drift. They account for the observations and predictions in Zimova, but they do not necessarily involve genetic evolution.

  45. hares change coat colors could be good proxy to calibrate tree ring samples.

    Next study project.

Comments are closed.