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Current Squirrels News and Events, Squirrels News Articles.
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Lichen is losing to wildfire, years after flames are gone
As increasingly hot and severe wildfires scorch the West, some lichen communities integral to conifer forests aren't returning, even years after the flames have been extinguished, according to a study from scientists at the University of California, Davis. (2018-08-09)

Scientists discover why elusive aye-aye developed such unusual features
A new study has, for the first time, measured the extent to which the endangered aye-aye has evolved similar features to squirrels, despite being more closely related to monkeys, chimps, and humans. (2018-07-31)

Monkeys benefit from the nut-cracking abilities of chimpanzees and hogs
Researchers of the University of Amsterdam and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology describe for the first time the scavenging behaviour of mangabey monkeys, guinea fowls, and squirrels on energy-rich nut remnants cracked by chimpanzees and red river hogs. The team used data collected by camera traps in the rain forest of Tai National Park in Ivory Coast. The results reveal new unknown interactions between different species and increase our understanding of the complex community of animals foraging around tropical nut trees. (2018-07-19)

Berry-gorging bears disperse seeds through scat and feed small mammals
Mice and voles scurry to bear scats to forage for seeds, finding nutritional value in the seeds and in some cases further dispersing them. (2018-07-05)

This curious animal grew larger over time -- but its brain didn't quite keep up
Study finds that the ancestor of the modern day mountain beaver had a larger relative brain size, offering a rare example of brain size decrease over time. (2018-06-27)

Finnish forest management guidelines fail to protect the flying squirrel
A new study determined the habitat requirements for flying squirrels and compared them to those included in the recently amended Forest Act. The main finding was that the Finnish Nature Conservation Act does not adequately protect the old growth forests where flying squirrels live. (2018-06-26)

For 100 million years, amber freezes a tableau of tick's worst day ever
This is the first time this kind of interaction between ticks and spiders has been documented in the fossil record. Even though ticks aren't a typical staple of spider diets, spiders can occasionally prey on ticks in modern ecosystems. (2018-06-13)

Selective neural connections can be reestablished in retina after injury, study finds
The brain's ability to form new neural connections, called neuroplasticity, is crucial to recovery from some types of brain injury, but this process is hard to study and remains poorly understood. A new study of neural circuit repair in the retina shows that neurons can make new connections to the right types of photoreceptors to restore selective connectivity after an injury. (2018-05-24)

A European origin for leprosy?
New research by an international team has revealed that there was much more diversity in the leprosy strains circulating in Medieval Europe than previously thought. This finding, based on the sequencing of 10 new ancient genomes from the leprosy-causing bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, complicates prior assumptions about the origin and spread of the disease, and also includes the oldest M. leprae genome sequenced to date, from about 400 AD in the United Kingdom. (2018-05-10)

Study suggests native UK Pine martens are helping to control invasive gray squirrels
For many years, populations of a little red squirrel with cute ear tufts, a native of Great Britain, Ireland and Europe, have been in serious decline because of competition for food from an invasive North American gray squirrel and a pox it carries for which the native animal has no defense. Now, new research suggests that native pine martens, also once on the decline, are suppressing the invading squirrels' numbers. (2018-03-06)

Genomes of seven unusual animals reveal new parts of the human genome for disease
To unearth new functional regions in the human genome with potential roles in shaping clinically important traits, researchers searched for how elephants, hibernating bats, orcas, dolphins, naked mole rats, and ground squirrels changed critical parts of the human genome that are shared with most other mammals. These regions are highly conserved, but to evolve their highly distinctive traits, these seven species had to change how these conserved DNA elements work. (2018-03-06)

Grey squirrels beat reds in 'battle of wits'
Problem-solving powers may help to explain why grey squirrels have taken over from native red squirrels in the UK, new research says. (2018-02-20)

Humans take up too much space -- and it's affecting how mammals move
A study recently published by Science found that, on average, mammals living in human-modified habitats move two to three times less far than their counterparts in areas untouched by humans. (2018-01-25)

Great scat! Bears -- not birds -- are the chief seed dispersers in Alaska
In southeastern Alaska, brown and black bears are plentiful because of salmon. Their abundance also means they are the primary seed dispersers of berry-producing shrubs, according to a new study. (2018-01-16)

Hibernating squirrels and hamsters evolved to feel less cold
The ground squirrel and the Syrian hamster, two rodents that hibernate in the winter, do not feel cold in the same way as non-hibernators, such as rats or mice. Yale researchers have discovered that hibernating rodents evolved cold-sensing neurons with diminished ability to detect temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius. The work appears Dec. 19 in the journal Cell Reports. (2017-12-19)

Video tags reveal surprising details of blue whale feeding behavior
The lunge feeding of blue whales is an extraordinary biomechanical event in which the largest animal on Earth accelerates and opens its mouth under water, expanding its enormous throat pouch to engulf a huge volume of water, then filtering out its prey. A new study of blue whale feeding strategies reveals surprising preferences with respect to how much and which direction they roll during lunge feeding in order to maximize efficiency. (2017-11-20)

Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels. While the animals' brains experience dramatically reduced blood flow during hibernation, just like human patients after a certain type of stroke, the squirrels emerge from their extended naps suffering no ill effects. Now, a team of NIH-funded scientists has identified a potential drug that could grant the same resilience to stroke patients. (2017-11-17)

Humans don't use as much brainpower as we like to think
When it comes to brainpower, humans aren't as exceptional as we like to think. For years, scientists assumed that humans devote a larger share of calories to their brains than other animals. Although the human brain makes up only 2 percent of body weight, it consumes more than 25 percent of the body's energy budget. But a comparison of the relative brain costs of 22 species found that other animals have hungry brains too. (2017-10-31)

Could Squirrel trade have contributed to England's medieval leprosy outbreak?
Genetic analysis of a pre-Norman skull unearthed in a garden in Suffolk has added to a growing body of evidence that East Anglia may have been the epicentre of an epidemic of leprosy that spread through medieval England. The authors of the new study suggest that an explanation for the prevalence of leprosy in medieval East Anglia may possibly be found in the sustained Scandinavian trade in squirrel fur -- an animal known to carry the disease. (2017-10-25)

Squirrels use 'chunking' to organize their favorite nuts
Like trick-or-treaters sorting their Halloween candy haul, fox squirrels apparently organize their stashes of nuts by variety, quality and possibly even preference, according to new UC Berkeley research. (2017-09-13)

Do squirrels teach bears to cross the railroad? Grizzlies dig squirrel middens for grains
Grains have been reported to regularly trickle from hopper cars travelling via the railway through Canada's Banff and Yoho National Parks. As a result, the local red squirrels collect and bury the spilled seeds in their winter larders, which are sometimes discovered by hungry grizzly bears. Grain-conditioned bears may frequent the railway more often than usual, resulting in increased mortality by trains strikes. The case is discussed in the open access journal Nature Conservation. (2017-08-30)

Baby boomer squirrels master tricky timing
Female squirrels who align their reproduction to take advantage of food-rich years and align have more pups that survive to maturity, according to new research from UAlberta biologists (2017-08-24)

Researchers examine contaminants in hunted wildlife
Concerning environmental contaminants, game species are not subject to the same safety testing as commercially marketed livestock. (2017-08-09)

First winged mammals from the Jurassic period discovered
Two 160-million-year-old mammal fossils discovered in China show that the forerunners of mammals in the Jurassic Period evolved to glide and live in trees. With long limbs, long hand and foot fingers, and wing-like membranes for tree-to-tree gliding, Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomylos are the oldest known gliders in the long history of early mammals. (2017-08-09)

Squirrels have long memory for problem solving
Squirrels can remember problem-solving techniques for long periods and can apply them to new situations, researchers have discovered. (2017-07-13)

Early squirrel gets the real estate, U of G study finds
Those young squirrels now scampering around your neighborhood were born in this year's earliest litters and are more likely to survive than squirrels born later and still curled up in their nests, according to a new University of Guelph study. That's because squirrels with early birth dates are first out of the nest and therefore more likely to find vacant spots to store their food for the winter. (2017-07-12)

A no-brainer? Mouse eyes constrict to light without direct link to the brain
Experimenting with mice, neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report new evidence that the eye's iris in many lower mammals directly senses light and causes the pupil to constrict without involving the brain. (2017-06-19)

How can you tell deep-sea octopuses apart? Check their warts
Until now, there'd been no rigorous framework for telling apart two species of deep-sea octopuses -- they're both pink and warty. A new study, though, shows that the distribution of warts is an important means of telling the two species apart -- the octopuses from the Pacific are wartier than the ones from the Atlantic.That little piece of information could be a big help in ongoing deep-sea research. (2017-06-07)

Hiding in plain sight: New species of flying squirrel discovered
A new study published May 30 in the Journal of Mammalogy describes a newly discovered third species of flying squirrel in North America -- now known as Humboldt's flying squirrel, or Glaucomys oregonensis. It inhabits the Pacific Coast region of North America, from southern British Columbia to the mountains of southern California. (2017-06-06)

Measuring the impact of a changing climate on threatened Yellowstone grizzly bears
A new analysis of Yellowstone grizzly bear diets reveals that grizzlies in the region continue to feed upon the products of an endangered tree species currently declining at the hands of climate change. Such changes are forcing some bears to look for more varied food sources. The researchers say the results call for increased monitoring efforts in the region. (2017-05-11)

Ancient ground squirrels prove to belong to a present-day species
Members of the Faculty of Biology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University have studied arctic ground squirrels, inhabiting the Indigirka river basin, and found out that their relatives now inhabit Kamchatka. The scientists have shared with the research results in an article, published in Scientific Reports journal. (2017-05-11)

In harm's way: Wolves may not risk 'prey switching' say USU ecologists
Utah State University researchers report Yellowstone wolves seldom hunt bison, though plentiful, and instead pursue elk, a scarcer, yet safer, target. (2017-04-10)

Fish, selective hunting strategies and a delayed-return lifestyle among ancient foragers
A unique trove of bone material from the 9,200 year old coastal settlement Norje Sunnansund in Blekinge, Sweden, has revealed that surprisingly sophisticated hunting strategies were used at the time. One key find was that the early Mesolithic humans practiced so-called selective hunting -- seemingly in order to maximize gain and preserve the local population of certain species. (2017-03-08)

Lost in translation: Traffic noise disrupts communication between species
Research by scientists at the University of Bristol has found that man-made noise can hinder the response of animals to the warning signals given by other species, putting them at greater risk of death from predators. (2017-01-30)

An ecological invasion mimics a drunken walk
A theory that uses the mathematics of a drunken walk describes ecological invasions better than waves, according to Tim Reluga, associate professor of mathematics and biology, Penn State. (2017-01-09)

Varmint hunters' ammo selection influences lead exposure in avian scavengers
Varmint hunters' choice of ammunition plays a role in the amount of lead that scavengers such as golden eagles could ingest, a new study shows, and offers a way to minimize the lead exposure to wildlife. (2016-12-29)

OU, BU and Smithsonian researchers investigate ancient species in Gulf of Alaska
Invasive species have shaped island ecosystems and landscapes in the Gulf of Alaska, but their histories are unknown. In a study by the University of Oklahoma, Boston University and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, researchers investigated the archaeological and genetic history of the Arctic ground squirrel on Chirikof Island, Alaska. This small mammal has the ability to affect vegetation and seabirds on these islands and was introduced across much of this region as part of the historic fox farming industry. (2016-12-15)

Researcher studies increased predation of sagebrush songbirds in natural gas fields
While such development has encroached on and hindered nesting habitat for three types of sagebrush-obligate birds, predation of these birds has increased because rodent populations in the vicinity of oil and gas wells have increased. (2016-12-14)

Can bird feeders do more harm than good?
Many bird lovers put out feeders full of seed for their feathered friends -- but those feeders may also attract predators that eat eggs and nestlings. The researchers behind a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications tried to untangle these relationships through a four-year study of songbird nests, bird feeders, and predators in urban central Ohio. (2016-12-07)

Tracking terrestrial animals
What does the detection of enemy planes during WWI have to do with locating endangered Mojave ground squirrels? They both benefit from acoustic beamforming, which uses multiple devices to find the point of intersection and pinpoint location. Researchers are developing a system using this WWI-era technology to detect and locate Mojave ground squirrels on Edwards Air Force Base. They aim to assess populations and any impact the base's activities may be having on the population. (2016-11-30)

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