Baby sea turtle

Scientists have always known that reptiles, such as snakes, lizards, and turtles, are very sensitive to temperatures of the area that they live in. In fact, temperatures affect reptiles before they are even born and help determine whether the baby reptile will be born a boy or a girl. 84 degrees F is the preferred temperature for reptiles and if it gets hotter than that, the babies begin to be born as girls. At around 87 degrees F, all baby reptiles will be born girls (any hotter and they die altogether).

Scientists have found that global warming, the continuing rise of the Earth’s temperature, is impacting the gender of baby sea turtles, warming their environment and causing more girls than boys to be born. Right now that’s a good thing since sea turtles are endangered with the total number of sea turtles on the planet at a dangerously low level. But if the Earth’s temperature continues to rise, the population of sea turtles may become all female which means the species will be unable to reproduce and will eventually die out altogether.

Scientists studied the sea turtles on islands in the Atlantic. They found that on lightly-colored beaches (which reflect more light and hence are cooler), about 7 out of 10 baby sea turtles are being born as girls. On darker-colored beaches (which absorb light and have warmer sand), more than 9 out of 10 sea turtles are girls.

So far, sea turtles have lived on this planet for hundreds of millions of years. Let’s not blow this guys.

Sources: Nature Climate Change, Sydney Morning Herald
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