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Climate Change Is Creating an Almost All Female Turtle Population

Climate Change Spurs Turtle Gender Bending Trend

"Males here could vanish in two or three decades," a researcher says.

Global warming has spurred a biological trend among loggerhead sea turtles, and it's now threatening the survival of the species.

The U.K.'s University of Exeter in July issued a report that found 84 percent of young turtles in Cape Verde, a major nesting ground for loggerheads, were female. That's largely because the sands in the African nation have grown warmer, encouraging a sex imbalance.

Scientists who took a Washington Post reporter to a nest hatching on the coast found a nest with 100 percent female babies. In the reptilian loggerhead species, the biological gender of young it develops and changes in response to the environment.

After the last five consecutive years became the hottest on record, nearly all young are being born female.

"Males here could vanish in two or three decades," researcher Adolfo Marco told the Post.

With rising temperatures on their current track, scientists say male births will drop to about 1 percent by the end of this century.

The study from University of Exeter said the consequences for reproductive behavior could worsen.

"Under a low-emissions scenario, without phenological adaptation, there would only be an estimated 0.14% males produced across the whole population, while under mid- and high-emissions scenarios, male production may cease on most islands," an abstract of the study reads.

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