This Animal (unexpectedly) Is One Of The Most Prepared To

This animal (unexpectedly) is one of the most prepared to survive the collapse

The key to the evolutionary success of squirrels lies in their ability “to inhabit many or few environments”, for example in Spain, according to a study.

An image of a squirrel.

Thanks to its ability to adapt and its survival in habitats around the world, squirrels have become one of the species with the best chance of evolving and surviving in the climate crisis, according to a study carried out by the Complutense University of Madrid and the Institute of Geosciences (UCM-CSIC).

the researcher Iris Menéndez, who is part of the project, has indicated in statements to the Efe agency that “the species that inhabit various environments They have a greater capacity to deal with climatic changes, since if one of the habitats in which they are found is reduced and fragmented, there is no reason for their distribution to decrease”.

Thus, the investigation emphasizes that the great key to evolutionary success of animals such as squirrels is found in the “degree of ecological specialization”, that is, the ability of this animal “to inhabit many or few environments”, given that they have less dependence on their environment, so, according to the researcher, “They can last even millions of years without substantial changes.”

In the particular case of squirrels, which make up one of the most diverse families of rodents with more than 300 registered species and with a distribution that makes them present in disparate places such as the humid jungles or the frozen climate of the tundra, they have a diversification that gives them “evolutionary advantages”.

According Menéndez, there are other species with similar characteristics such as the common starling or the sparrows, which have “very wide layouts”, which does not mean that they are not “in danger of becoming extinct”, since there are factors such as human intervention that “continues to pose a great threat to many of these animals, because we reduce their populations by destroying their habitat and by climate change. climate that we ourselves are generating”.

The effects

The species that are “climatically highly restricted” -which are present only in a certain environment-, significantly increase the chances of becoming extinct due to the fragmentation of their habitat, but, nevertheless, this same reason means that there are “more options to generate new species”.

Because, Menendez has underlined that this phenomenon can cause two opposing effects: “This reduction in their populations can ultimately lead to extinction, but it can also generate many different species due to isolation of populations, which prevents interaction between other groups and, if maintained for long enough, they can eventually separate into different species, although, of course, these new species will also be subject to extinction.

“In any case, the response of species to climate change is complex, since a climate crisis such as the current one can lead to the loss of many representative species of current biodiversity, even of a group as extensive as squirrels,” he said. concluded the researcher from the Complutense University.