New tests of the amazing nose power of Belding's ground squirrels have solved a 25-year-old puzzle about doing dangerous favors for relatives.
Classic studies beginning in 1977 showed that female Belding's ground squirrels sound alarms or defend burrows to help their mothers, sisters, or daughters. Yet cousins and extended family get no more assistance than strangers do.
Are the ground squirrels unable to tell who their cousins are? Or do they just not go to the trouble of aiding them?
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.