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Thu May 21, 2009
Study: Michigan mammals rapidly migrating north
Traverse City, MI – TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP)
Scientists say some of Michigan's mammal species are migrating rapidly northward, probably because of climate change.
Researchers studied records of nine common mammals such as opossums, white-footed mice and eastern chipmunks. They found that species historically from the South are gaining ground in northern Michigan. Meanwhile, historically northern species are declining.
University of Michigan ecologist Philip Myers said Thursday the study demonstrates how global warming already is affecting the environment, instead of just predicting what will happen in the future.
Myers says his team considered other possible causes of the animals' migration patterns, such as forest logging. But the scientists conclude that climate change is the likeliest reason.
He says it's uncertain what implications the animals' movements have for Michigan's broader environment.