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Great Basin Mammals
Reference
Lawlor, T.E. 1998. Biogeography of great mammals: Paradigm lost? Journal of Mammalogy 79: 111-1130.

What was done
On the basis of evolving theory and an ever-increasing body of pertinent data, the author reexamined biogeographic relationships of mammals that are found on mountaintops in the Great Basin of western North America. This effort was undertaken with the objective of determining their future well-being in the face of anticipated climate-driven changes in their environment.

What was learned
Contrary to the conclusions of earlier more simplistic studies that predicted dramatic global warming-induced reductions in the numbers of different types of mammals in this region, Lawlor concluded that "virtually no extinctions can be expected from a projected 3C rise in temperature."

What it means
The results of this study and those of several others (Grayson, 2000; Grayson and Madson, 2000; Fleishman et al., 2001) stand in stark contrast to the doom-and-gloom predictions of climate alarmists, who incessantly claim that global warming will lead to a mass extinction of species nearly everywhere on earth because, as they say, plants and animals will not be able to migrate fast enough to keep up with the climatic zones to which they are currently most accustomed, or alternatively, they will literally "run out of places to run" when the migration is upward as opposed to poleward. As simple-sounding as that fearsome hypothesis is, more complex studies, such as the one reviewed here, indicate it is simply wrong, because plants and animals are simply not the simpletons climate alarmists make them out to be, as they possess a wide array of strategies for coping with environmental change and recolonizing former territories after having once been forced out of them.

References
Fleishman, E., Austin, G.T. and Murphy, D.D. 2001. Biogeography of Great Basin butterflies: revisiting patterns, paradigms, and climate change scenarios. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74: 501-515.

Grayson, D.K. 2000. Mammalian responses to Middle Holocene climatic change in the Great Basin of the western United States. Journal of Biogeography 27: 181-192.

Grayson, D.K. and Madson, D.B. 2000. Biogeographic implications of recent low-elevation recolonization by Neotoma cinerea in the Great Basin. Journal of Mammalogy 81: 1100-1105.


Reviewed 1 May 2002