Friday, May 22, 2009

UPDATE on the FRANKENSQUIRREL, and MOVE OVER LUCY


Remember a couple of posts ago when I posted photos my friend Elaine took of an odd-looking squirrel? We had some speculation on what might be going on, including some info from blogger Squirrelmama, who said the unusual coat was probably due to molting. Well, that seemed like a reasonable explanation to me, but… here is a new photo of the same squirrel (whom I think we may now safely refer to as ‘she’) taken approximately two weeks after the first ones. While the mystery of her gender has been solved, we I’m wondering if we can say the same about her strange coat, at least not the complete mystery.

My next step was to print out Elaine’s photos and take them to the Point Pelee Nature Center to see if anyone had seen something like this in the area before (they hadn't). The Ranger was very knowledgeable, and she, too, thought it was probably a molt. She also said squirrels usually molt over the period of about one month. Well, in that case, our squirrel should be moving right along but she's still wearing those wooly chaps, and doesn’t look like she’s shed a single hair more! Anyway, Elaine’s going to keep an eye out for her, and I’ll post any further developments. Even considering this is a a molt, you have to admit, you don’t see one like it everyday in the park—I still think genetics must be having a bit of fun at her expense as well. (normal gray squirrel molt photo for comparison)



On a related note, the news wires were abuzz this week with the report that the missing archaeological link between humans and apes has at long last been found. Or, as one article put it, it’s more accurate to call it a missing link than the missing link. We likely won’t find that neat a single-line progression of descent, but still, it’s a hugely important find, and more than enough reason to stand Charles Darwin a posthumous drink. The new fossil, named Ida, is stunningly well preserved, right down to her last meal of a fruit cup and side salad. She’s described as being capable of walking upright, having opposable thumbs, and otherwise being rather cat-like. That is my worst nightmare, you know—cats with opposable thumbs. I rarely get a moment’s peace around here as it is. But let’s get back to our little squirrel. I’m envisioning a time in the unimaginably distant future, when scientists (all in silver lamé jumpsuits no doubt) are excavating the fossil remains of Elaine’s backyard, and discover well-preserved fossil bones (you can even see the imprint of two kinds of fur!!) that will rewrite everything they thought they knew about molting squirrels.


Photos, top to bottom:
1-The newest shot of the Frankensquirrel (thanks again, Elaine!)
2-A gray squirrel in molt from Google images, for comparison
3-Newly discovered Ida
4-The famous Lucy
5-Sweeney, contemplating a life where she can work the can opener herself...


Happy Memorial Day long weekend to those in the US. I'm taking a bit of a break here myself, and won't post anything new here till Monday. Ciao!

14 comments:

Shellmo said...

I hope we get to see more photos of that Frankensquirrel! It is neat to see! And yes - if Marvin my cat had thumbs - he's be joining your Sweeney at the can opener! LOL~!

bobbie said...

Love your projection into the future. Those silver suited guys will be amazed.

Mr. Cheddar said...

Sweeney: When you get that can opener thing down pat, call me!!!

BTW...My mom's name is Geraldine and she says Hello and Happy Weekend to your mom.

Sylvia K said...

This just gets more and more interesting! Great pic of Sweeney!
Let me know when he masters the can opener!

Have a great weekend, Deborah!

SandyCarlson said...

I think the squirrel mullet is a fascinating story. I hope it's not an environmental problem causing the situation.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I have no idea about your Frankensquirrel, Deb... You'll have to keep on checking her out--and see what happens a few months from now... WEIRD!!!!!

Sweeney is a cutie!!! Glad you are taking some time off this weekend. We all need it on occasion. This blogging takes up alot of time!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Indrani said...

Interesting read!
Have a good rest. :)

Lin said...

adam will be interested to learn about his ape ancestors...lol. fun squirrel, one of a kind. keep your eye on him. we are all interested.

Rose said...

Lucy looks like a character; I would love to meet her.

Have you seen the Simon's Cat videos? If not, google and watch! The last time I checked there were three of them, and they are so funny!

Dee said...

What an interesting squirrel! Your post was just delightful! Happy long weekend to you!

Aleta said...

Now, that really is a cool looking squirrel!

magiceye said...

amazing!

Dianne said...

my cats keep hoping they'll learn how to drive ;)

Quiet Paths said...

I just really enjoyed this post. Sweeney needs one of those gadgets which you just plunk on top of the can opener and then it does the rest; don't even have to hold the can. My Mom has one....