Making a Run for Freedom : Climate Change Edition

Fox you I won’t do what you tell me. Image: Wikipedia

Scientists ‘speechless’ at Arctic fox’s epic trek

According to the BBC, Climate Change threatens just about everything including the Arctic Fox, a fox no less that has seemingly outwitted scientists and media alike.

We will never know what the little fox gets up to in Canada, as her transmitter stopped working in February, the Polar Institute reports.

Because even though the foxes are clearly adaptable, the climate bogeyman is out to get them;

Whilst we can debate if the fox was making a break for Freedom – probably to get as far away from scientists as possible – these species have lived through far worse in the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period, the Dark Ages, the Roman Warm Period and far off beyond that into the past beyond reliable records [emphasis added];

Looking at the most recent phylogeny, the Arctic fox diverged from the domesticated dog (Canis lupus familiaris) at approximately 12 MYA. The Arctic fox and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) diverged approximately 3.17MYA. Additionally, the Arctic fox diverged from its sister group, the kit fox (Vulpes macrotis), at about 0.9MYA.

Origins

The origins of the Arctic fox have been described by the “out of Tibet” hypothesis. On the Tibetan Plateau, fossils of the extinct ancestral Arctic fox (Vulpes qiuzhudingi) from the early Pliocene (5.08–3.6 MYA) were found along with many other precursors of modern mammals that evolved during the Pliocene (5.3–2.6 MYA). It is believed that this ancient fox is the ancestor of the modern Arctic fox. Globally, the Pliocene was about 2–3 °C warmer than today, and the Arctic during the summer in the mid-Pliocene was 8 °C warmer. By using stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of fossils, researchers claim that the Tibetan Plateau experienced tundra-like conditions during the Pliocene and harbored cold-adapted mammals that later spread to North America and Eurasia during the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million-11,700 years ago).

Wikipedia

As long as we don’t hunt them to extinction, we would be foolish to discount ancestoral memory and instinct in these foxes survival.

Researchers at Norway’s Polar Institute fitted the young female with a GPS tracking device and freed her into the wild in late March last year on the east coast of Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago’s main island.

The fox was under a year old when she set off west in search of food, reaching Greenland just 21 days later – a journey of 1,512 km [72km per day!] – before trudging forward on the second leg of her trek.

She was tracked to Canada’s Ellesmere Island, nearly 2,000 km further, just 76 days after leaving Svalbard.you

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