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Hopes of proving global warming killing penguins?
by Ryan Roff on January 13, 2011
How about this for irony. The very tags that French scientists hoped would answer the intriguing yet puzzling questions of climate change on animals like penguins was actually the detrimental cause of impaired survival and reproduction skills in the penguins paired with scientist-applied metal bands and data chips.
In an effort to track the effect of climate change on penguins’ health living in the Crozet Islands, a sub-Antarctic archipelago of small islands, scientists placed metal bands on 50 penguins and data chips on 50 other penguins. The goal was to track the overall health of the colony by monitoring those with the bands and chips. Ironically, those with the metal bands and chips became more the handicapped runts than the glorified test subjects set to prove global warning that the scientists hoped they would be.
According to the data, which has been tracked for more than a decade, those with the metal bands produced 39% fewer chicks and survived at a rate 16% lower than those without the bands. Additionally, the birds with bands showed up an average of 16 days later to the breeding grounds.
Ultimately, the artificial selection (of scientists tagging penguins) created an exemplary model of Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection. Those with the bands became the inferior species dying off and showing up late for the breeding fest.
After more than 10 years of studying the birds, the researchers arrived at the conclusion that although the tags may have been detrimental to the health of the penguins, they still believe climate change is very real. They simply think “[they] need a better method to study it.”
Sometimes it becomes apparent that the hope of proving a point gets in the way of sound judgment. Over a period of ten years, scientists observed changed behavior, but the changed behavior was not a result of global warming. It was because the experiment created the variables and the results. The results, essentially, were constructed rather than observed.
It will be imperative in the future that global warming studies take into account all the external variables over a long period of time. For global warming to be a proven reality, it must be observed.