Scientists explain why too many sea turtles are born female


Warm water near the Great Barrier Reef is apparently resulting in almost entirely female births among sea turtles.

Researchers from the U.S. and Australian governments found out that sea turtles mating in the northern Great Barrier Reef were producing about 99 percent female offspring. They say the complete feminization of that population is possible.

A sea turtle's sex isn't determined by genetics like a human's. Instead, the water temperature around the embryo decides that. If the temperature gets above a certain point, the baby sea turtle will be female.

SEE MORE: How Coral Transplants Could Save The Great Barrier Reef

The study found that the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, where the water is cooler, produced a more balanced percentage: somewhere around 65 percent female, depending on the age group.

The study mentions climate change as the culprit and says nesting temperatures for sea turtles has to be lowered or the species could eventually go extinct.

More on sea turtles:

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Conservationists work to save sea turtles in Lebanon
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Conservationists work to save sea turtles in Lebanon
Baby sea turtles are seen at a seashore in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
Young women are seen next to baby sea turtles at a seashore in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
Baby sea turtles crawl to the sea at a seashore in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
A girl holds baby sea turtles at a seashore in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi
Baby sea turtles crawl to the sea at a seashore in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
Baby sea turtles crawl to the sea at a seashore in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi
Mona Khalil along with other people releases baby sea turtles in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
Mona Khalil holds baby sea turtles in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi
Baby sea turtles crawl to the sea at a seashore in El-Mansouri village, near the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon July 24, 2017. Picture taken July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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