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Australian researchers say rising sea levels have wiped out a rodent that lived on a tiny outcrop in the Great Barrier Reef, in what they say is the first documented extinction of a mammal species due to man-made climate change. The rodent was known to have lived only on Bramble Cay, a minuscule atoll in the northeast Torres Strait, between Cape York Peninsula in the Australian state of Queensland and the southern shores of Papua New Guinea. The long-tailed, whiskered creature, called the Bramble Cay melomys, is considered the only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef.
“The key factor responsible for the death of the Bramble Cay melomys is almost certainly high tides and surging seawater, which has traveled inland across the island,” Luke Leung, a scientist from the University of Queensland who was an author of a report on the species’ apparent disappearance, said by telephone. “The seawater has destroyed the animal’s habitat and food source.”
There is a small possibility that the rodents may yet be discovered in some parts of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Leung said. Scientists are not sure how the animals first arrived at Bramble Cay, but they theorize that they may have floated there on driftwood or arrived in sailing vessels.
Dr. Leung said one reason the report was released so long after the research was conducted was to verify that it was the first such extinction due to climate change caused by humans. He said the scientists “collected data, looked extensively at other research and left no stone unturned” before making that assertion.
originally posted by: seattlerat
a reply to: johnnyjoe1979
did you read the article? It has been suggested that some examples may yet be found because they could have escaped on a piece of drift-wood...