The Bramble Cay melomys lost most of its habitat to rising seas.
This is a different melomys, but the researchers say it closely resembles its extinct relative. (Photo: Luke Leung/University of Queensland)
You can say it’s just a rat, that no one will miss it. Or that it was too obscure to matter anyway, with the entire species living on one 10-acre island in the South Pacific.
But it would be a mistake to dismiss the Bramble Cay melomys, which was declared extinct this week by researchers in Australia. This rodent is reportedly the first mammal species wiped out by human-induced climate change, and at the rate CO2 emissions are now altering Earth’s atmosphere, it’s unlikely to be the last. Read more.