Maybe it’s just me, and the fact that I’ve spent the last year and a half staring out the window in front of my desk, watching squirrels traverse the many trees and wires that fill the landscape. Maybe it’s the lingering influence of what was probably the greatest comic book series of the last decade. Regardless of the cause, I feel obligated to keep our readers up to date on the latest squirrel research.

In June we featured the complex obstacle courses a JPL engineer was building, all of which were fairly rapidly conquered by their squirrel-ninja contestants. Today it’s a promotional video from the University of California, Berkeley, on the research being done on squirrel movement and agility, with the goal of building better robots, better to move more effectively through varied landscapes.

I’m not so sure building squirrel-based robots is the best of ideas, given their seemingly unbeatable nature, but the key discovery here is that squirrels do parkour!

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


3 Thoughts on "Important Squirrel Update"

What would I do without David Crotty’s Friday posts? TGIF. While they don’t gather lots of comments, they spin out into the universe being shared with a wide audience. Your Friday posts are anticipated and appreciated.

There will be no escaping our robot overlords who are on the ground (Boston Dynamics dog-like robot), in the air (drones) and will be in the trees.

In my backyard squirrel research, I put corn cobs on elastic shock cords and then progressively raised them to increase the jumps. However, a squirrel got wise and deduced that if it ran up the tree, and pulled the cord up hand over hand, it both didn’t have to jump for it and also the other squirrels couldn’t reach it. Alas, the great remaining challenge in the squirrel research community is solving relative motion problems with cars.

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