Two ground squirrels at an urban campsite near San Diego, California, have tested positive for plague.
Like many terrible infectious diseases, the plague is transmitted through fleas. Symptoms include high fever, chills and swollen neck glands.
Yuck. Read the full story here: Ground Squirrels Test Positive for Plague in San Diego
Apparently paleontologists are examining fossil records of California ground squirrels to see how a currently warming world is affecting animals, although this DailyGazette.com article doesn’t really do a good job of explaining why. Ah, science journalism — such a tricky thing.
Back when the world was really hot and wet, all animals were larger in size, since hot and wet means tropical, and tropical means plentiful, year-round food supplies.
Then, the earth cooled, and animals shrunk in size. And shivered a lot more.
In the near future, as weather patterns are expected to shift rapidly (and some would say already are) scientists expect the size of animals to change. Or, I think that’s what the research is getting at. It’s not totally clear in this article.
Actually, I think the research was simply meant to study old fossils (which is fine with me) but the public relations department was desperate to find a current news peg. What’s hot? Global warming. Let’s tie it all together and see if we can get some publicity.