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What 1 species of lizard in Arizona can tell us about climate-related extinctions

By Mark Brodie
Published: Monday, November 13, 2023 - 11:05am

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What can the extinction of populations of a species of lizard in southeastern Arizona tell us about climate-related extinctions more broadly?

According to John J. Wiens, a lot.

Wiens is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. He studied the Yarrow’s spiny lizard over the course of several years, to see how populations of it in different locations survived — or didn’t.

Wiens spoke with The Show about what he found and why he decided to research this specific kind of lizard — what about this species made him think he could learn some broader lessons from it?

Yarrow’s spiny lizard
John J. Wiens/University of Arizona
A Yarrow’s spiny lizard spotted at Canelo Hills, Arizona

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