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Too Hot to Hibernate: Head for the Hills!

As if anyone needs any more proof that global warming is real, biologists have discovered that in Spain, bears are no longer hibernating for the winter. In California, chipmunks, mice and squirrels are moving to higher elevations, where the weather is cooler. They've been doing this for around 100 years, showing that climate change is nothing new.

Brown bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain. In the Independent, Genevi?ve Roberts quotes bear expert Guillermo Palomero as saying, "If the winter is mild, the female bears find it is energetically worthwhile to make the effort to stay awake and hunt for food." Residents have spotted them moving through the forests at a time when they're normally asleep.

In the Independent, Michael McCarthy writes, "Animals that hibernate in winter abandoning hibernation: yet another signal that something momentous is happening to the rhythms of the natural world, in the way in which we have always understood them?If some European brown bears in the Cantabrian mountains are now stopping hibernation, we can draw two conclusions. First, something quite enormous is happening in the world around them, and if you want to hazard a guess that that something is global warming, you would have as good a theory as any other."

There are serious signs of global warming in the US as well. In LiveScience.com, Jeanna Bryner quotes researchers Joseph Grinnell as saying, "?We've shown that there are definite changes that we may be able to tie to climate change?" He's referring to the data his team has gathered showing that in California, many small mammals are gradually moving to higher elevations. In other words, their living and foraging ranges have altered as the climate has changed. Bryner quotes zoologist Chris Conroy as saying, "We can perhaps use this model to look into the future?" Does he mean that humans will soon have to do the same thing?

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

Our ancestors lived through many changes, and, as far back as pre-history, they even developed a culture around them. If there's really a science of time travel, people may be coming back from the future to try to get us to stop messing up their present. WHERE ELSE can you read edge stories and hear wonderful radio shows about topics like this? Make sure we survive in 2007: Subscribe today!

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