How a Few Species Are Hacking Climate Change
Animals can be surprisingly adaptable—but can they change quickly enough?
As the Earth heats up, animals and plants are not necessarily helpless. They can move to cooler climes; they can stay put and adapt as individuals to their warmer environment, and they can even adapt as a species, by evolving.
The big question is, will they be able to do any of that quickly enough? Most researchers believe that climate change is happening too fast for many species to keep up. (Related: "Rain Forest Plants Race to Outrun Global Warming.")
But in recent weeks, the general gloom has been pierced by two rays of hope: Reports have come in of unexpected adaptive ability in endangered butterflies in California and in corals in the Pacific.
Two isolated reports don't, of course, diminish the