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UCLA

Biologist sees Groundhog Day as a celebration of science, not superstition

Biologist sees Groundhog Day as a celebration of science, not superstition

I am a scientist who loves Groundhog Day, that least scientific of holidays. Every February, as Punxsutawney Phil shakes the dust off his coat, emerges from his burrow, glances at his shadow (or not) and allegedly prognosticates winter's end, I gather a group of professors, graduate students and other assorted science geeks at my UCLA lab to nibble, drink, schmooze and revel in groundhoggery in all its magnificent splendor.

I study the behavior, ecology and evolution of groundhogs and the 14 other species of marmots — large, charismatic ground squirrels that live throughout the northern hemisphere. I realize that these rodents can't tell us when seasons will change, and I know...

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