IPFS News Link • Science

Pocket Gophers May Be the First Non-Human Mammal to 'Farm'

• arclein

To find out how and why the gophers construct large tunnels on their plant-based diets, scientists at the University of Florida dug trenches around three gopher tunnel sections in a Gainesville pasture and placed oil barrels at each trench to keep them out, Science reports. From here, the team photographed the blocked sections and noticed that roots grew and filled the areas, whereas, in the places left open for the gophers to roam, the roots stayed short. The researchers then calculated the daily root growth to determine how much of the gopher's energy needs could be met by harvesting the roots, a statement explains. Previously, it was thought that the gophers survived by eating away at roots they encountered while constructing their tunnels. Based on the calculations, the scientists found that the energy needed to dig a tunnel is too much to be supported by the roots that gophers eat while excavating it, but if they eat roots grown in other tunnels that are already dug, they can