Best of 2016 // #75: Climate change claims its first species


An elusive rat-sized mouse made headlines in June, by becoming the first animal to become extinct at the hands of human-induced climate change. Only about two hundred Bramble Cay Melomys (Melomys rubicola) were known to exist.  First discovered in the 1970s, the species existed in only one known location; a small island in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

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The animals were last spotted in 2009; there was no trace of them in subsequent searches, including an extended survey in 2014. Researchers have declared the species extinct due to global warming: rising seas have destroyed 97% of the herbaceous vegetation of the island over the past decade, which once provided food and shelter for the rodents.

There’s 99 more stories from 2016.  Check out the Best of 2016 series here

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