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A study published in the latest issue of Current Biology has found that green sea turtles born in areas of heated water and sand around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are 99.8% female.

In turtle biology, different temperatures dictate their sex, with cooler temperatures producing more male hatchlings and warmer areas producing more females. The change in sea and sand temperature is thought to be a consequence of climate change.

It is not yet clear how the extreme sex ratio will affect sea turtles’ future, but there are concerns that this could create something of a time bomb.

Michael Jensen, the study’s lead author, said: “What happens in 20 years’ time when there are no more males reaching adulthood? Will there be enough breeding males to sustain the population?”

Image credit: Getty