PerspectiveEcology

Are Lizards Toast?

Science  14 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5980, pp. 832-833
DOI: 10.1126/science.1190374

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Summary

Lizards should be relatively invulnerable to warming: They are very good at evading thermal stress, tolerate high body temperatures, and resist water loss. Nevertheless, on page 894 of this issue, Sinervo et al. (1) document extinctions of lizard populations on five continents and argue that global warming is responsible. They use a simple biological model, validated against observed extinctions, to predict that warming will drive almost 40% of all global lizard populations extinct by 2080. If their prediction is even close to correct, lizards may be “the new amphibians” (2) in a race toward extinction.