Sunday, 13 June 2010

Red squirrels adopting unrelated red squirrels

The University of Alberta’s Jamieson Gorrell have been observing red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris in Yukon (western most point in Canada) and he noticed an adult red squirrel had adopted a newborn red squirrel which had been abandoned by its mother. The red squirrel took the baby to a near by tree where she proceeded to care for it.

Gorrell found that the young squirrel was related to its adoptive mother. Researchers think the biological mother disappeared and the adoptive mother to be recognised a genetic link so adopted it.

This research proves a ‘long-accepted theory of evolutionary biology is correct for a solitary, non social animal.’


Jamie Gorrell said...

Hi Anna,
I'm glad you enjoyed the article about red squirrels adopting. I would just like to point out that we observed red squirrels adopting other red squirrels, not grey squirrels. Also, our North American red squirrels are Tamiasciurus hudsonicus - a different species from what you have in the UK.

Anna Simpson said...

Hi Jamie,

Apologies for this mistake. I did find it very interesting to read.