By Mark Salamon, August 1, 2018
A revolutionary new study out of the University of California, Berkeley that is sure to save thousands of lives has shown that the way squirrels store their nuts is similar to the way humans put away their groceries.
Lead author Dr. Mikel Delgado and psychology professor Dr. Lucia Jacobs have found that squirrels use a cognitive strategy called “chunking,” which means that they “organize information into manageable categories, similarly to subfolders on a computer.” Using advanced GPS technology, these researchers were able to spot squirrels “organizing their nuts by variety, quality, and even by their favourites,” and noting that they do this “in a similar fashion to the way humans put away their groceries...fruit on one shelf, and vegetables on another. Then, when you are looking for an onion, you only have to look in one place, not every shelf in the kitchen.” (1)
This exciting research opens up a whole new world of questions that further research needs to address. For instance, if squirrel’s technique really does mimic humans, then we should be able to observe the male squirrel trying but failing to find a particular nut, say an acorn, that the female has stored, even when she stored the acorns in the same place that she has always stored the acorns. Advanced GPS and photographic technology should then be able to capture the male squirrel return to the site, stare directly at the pile of acorns, and return to the female empty handed because he still cannot find the acorns.
It is easy to see how getting to the bottom of this behavior could prevent needless suffering and death at the hands of wives wielding cast iron skillets. At the very least, it may allow men throughout the world a tiny bit of consolation that they are not the only species on earth that has evolved into complete morons.