Bushy-tailed Woodrats, a.k.a. Packrats

May 30, 2014

Bushy-tailed woodrats (Neotoma cinerea). The darker coat on the left is typical of cooler climates) than the lighter coat on the right.
Credit Ron Klinger from Kays and Wilson's Mammals of North America

6/1/14 & 6/2/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Packrats," written by Sandra Murphy, read by Caroline Kurtz.

"Researchers have discovered that the middens of bushy-tailed woodrats, with their embalmed plant fragments, hold a key to understanding long-term environmental changes in the West. By identifying and radiocarbon-dating each layer of trapped pollen, leaves and seeds, researchers can create chronological pictures of the vegetation surrounding the midden since it first began accumulating. Packrat middens illuminate the effects of climatic change on the Western landscape over the last 40,000 years."