So, how do you tie a story about a Jurassic beaver in with one about a hairless skunk? Looks more like a shaved weasel to me, by the way (maybe that’s because skunks are in the weasel family). Random genetic mutations like that seen in the skunk are what drive evolution. Given enough global warming, we may start to see more of them. The same mutation imparted an evolutionary advantage to naked mole rats. In fact, a similar mutation happened in our past, which eventually lead to the evolution of clothing (via a December post on Biopolitical).

Which brings me to an analogy. Periods of rapid change in an environment spark bursts of evolution where new designs are tested out; similarly, global warming, combined with peak oil, is creating a frenzy of new technology designs in human cultures, all being tested in the crucible of the free market. It will be interesting to see what shakes out.