Colleges and Universities

Going nuts for squirrels at UC Berkeley's animal cognition lab

Going nuts for squirrels at UC Berkeley's animal cognition lab

On a recent day, three UC Berkeley researchers scanned the leaf-strewn campus hunting for treasures.

They were armed with equipment that looked like metal detectors, but their quarry wasn’t dropped coins or jewelry. Doctoral student Mikel Delgado and her team were searching for hazelnuts they’d embedded with microchips to help them answer the question: How do squirrels decide where to bury their nuts?

“Got one!” called out Aryan Sharif, a senior studying ecology, as a number popped up on his microchip reader. Daniel Petrie, a research assistant, clipboard in hand, recorded that 5D49, buried by a squirrel nine months earlier, remained just where it had been,...

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