What Did Lewis and Clark Think About the Ground Squirrel?
The ground squirrel is a species of squirrel found throughout the American West. Its characteristics are unique to the region. Meriwether Lewis and his crew mainly traveled along watercourses, which limited their range. Their drive was driven by the need to keep moving toward their home and destination. This limited their opportunities to discover things, but it also helped set a baseline for others to follow.
The thirteen-lined ground squirrel, also known as the spotted or gray-haired ground-squirrel, has characteristics similar to the pig and whale. It has a relatively high Mb content (2.5-3.0%), which is significantly higher during the winter months. In addition, the Mb content was higher in hibernating ground squirrels than in newly-awakened ones, which suggests that it has a high oxygen demand during the first arousal.
The retina of the ground squirrel is much different from that of other rod-eyed squirrels. While both species share a similar general layout, the ground squirrel retina contains more cone-emitting cells. Unlike most rod-eyed animals, ground squirrels have a cone-dominant retina, which has evolved to accommodate a diurnal lifestyle and seasonal metabolic challenges. Because it’s not used to winter, its cone-dominant retina has a unique functional role in vision research.
The habitat of the ground squirrel is widespread, occupying most of the Western United States. With the growth of agricultural land, the ground squirrel’s population has exploded, and their damage to crops has increased as well. The ground squirrel is a member of the genus Citellus, which comprises many species, including the Columbian ground squirrel, which is common in Eastern Washington, Oregon, and Northern Idaho. Depending on its location, it can be either nocturnal or active throughout the year.
The ground squirrel is a member of the Marmotini subtribe of rodents. These rodents evolved during the early to mid-Oligocene, although there are fossils of primitive marmots from the Late Oligocene in North America. But the fossil record for “true” ground squirrels is much less well known. Although fossils from this species go back to the Early Oligocene, the ground squirrel most likely lived until the mid-Miocene.
In a new study, researchers have shown that the behaviors of the ground squirrel are influenced by its environment. Specifically, they found that juveniles in a field with few trees do better on MCP tasks than those in trees with many trees. The results of the study are expected to be published in the journal Behavioral Ecology. The ground squirrel’s behavior has changed dramatically since Lewis and Clark first observed it, but the main reason for the changes seems to be the environmental conditions that have led it to be so successful.
The ground squirrel has a relatively large brain that is about the size of a pine nut. As a result, it is difficult to determine its sexuality. Researchers believe that the ground squirrel has a gender-specific preference, but this is not conclusive. Ground squirrels are known to use a sensory bias to select their territories, which may be related to their experience of different environments.
Changes in name
The family of squirrels consists of more than fifty different species. In fact, they are endemic to several continents. Researchers from the University of Durham have determined that the ground squirrel has a much shorter name than other members of the squirrel family. The change in name occurred after the species’ ancestors migrated to different parts of the continent. The genetic differences in squirrels came to light through analysis of DNA from 51 different species.
The Beechey Ground Squirrel was named after Frederick William Beechey, who first discovered the species while exploring Northern California. The new name “Beechey’s Ground Squirrel” is derived from this fact. This species’ scientific name is Otospermophius, which means “seed-loving squirrel.”
Success in the wild
Young Richardson’s ground squirrels have shown remarkable resilience to changes in their social environment after emergence. These animals have undergone numerous changes to their environment throughout their lives, including dispersal, immigration, and overwinter mortality. Researchers suggest that the underlying mechanism may include social buffering and trade-offs between competing costs and benefits. The presence of female kin may enhance reproductive success, joint care of young, and access to resources. Removing mothers from the nest may also increase circulating glucocorticoids, a stress hormone.
Several factors may contribute to the ground squirrel’s success in the wild. These factors may help the animal avoid predation and secure its territory. Some ground squirrels, such as the golden-mantled ground squirrel, have distinct personalities. These traits may influence their ability to access elevated perches. These animals are bold and aggressive, while more social and cooperative ground squirrels are more likely to access such perches.
What did the Lewis and Clark expedition think of the ground squirrel?
Answer: They thought the ground squirrel was a “vicious little animal” that was “not easily tamed.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.