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Study: Young Arctic muskoxen better at keeping warm than scientists thought
Date:8/20/2009

r calf survival as previously thought," Munn says. "This is important because calf mortality in muskoxen and other large arctic herbivores has been variously linked with severe winters, which are expected to increase in number and severity with current climate trends.

"However, we present evidence that thermal costs per se may not be driving calf mortalities in muskoxen."

That doesn't mean climate change presents no risk to muskoxen or other large herbivores. They still face danger from food shortages and other ecological disturbances, Munn says.

Muskoxen have a variety of ways to fight heat loss. They are insulated by thick fur called qiviut, and they likely have the ability to direct blood away from their extremities in cold weather.

"Overall, our work shows that predicting a species' responses to climate change requires detailed understanding of all aspects of their physiological ecology, and particularly for how this changes throughout life," Munn says.


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Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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