Friday, August 29, 2008

The Wild Life of Hamsters - Interview from ISBE Conference 2008

Though this site is dedicated to introducing you to Wildlife Outside of your Window, I realize that for the average urban/suburban child, there are plenty of “wild animals” you may already know. We call them pets. Our pets are merely the domesticated descendents of wild fore-parents from many, many generations ago.

Domestication of animals – whether for pets or for agriculture – has a very long history. In fact, one the oldest domesticated animals is the honey bee!! No kidding. Domesticated animals carry many of the same biological tendencies, genes, and behaviors of their wild cousins. After all, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. But many “unique’ traits of domesticated animals is due to deliberate preferences of people – artificial selection.

While at the 2008 ISBE Conference I interviewed a friend and colleague who studies Golden Hamsters. They are also referred to as Syrian hamsters and yes, the same species of hamster that I and so many other youngsters had/have as children.
There are still wild hamsters left, but they are endangered.
This is an actual picture of a wild Golden Hamster in its native habitat in Turkey.

Check out this interview with Misty McPhee, Biologist and Post-doc, at Cornell University and learn more about the Golden Hamsters and the research she does with the wild version of the hamster in its native country of Turkey. By the way, the countries of Turley and Syria are neighbors. Below is a picture of her next to a poster about her research.
You’ll get to hear my voice!

Finally don't forget to cast your vote for my blog as the Best Science/Tech Blog in the 2008 Black Weblog Awards. Voting ending this Sunday, Aug 31st.


Anonymous said...

This is a really cool project. I learned a lot about hamsters. Made me want to go out and do some fieldwork, although how do you get funded to study hamsters? :-)

DNLee said...

you can also study field mice - like me. Field mice - Microtus and Peromyscus - are the ecological equivalents of hamsters in the Middle East.

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Holly said...

Her information is a little off. The first syrian hamster caught for breeding purposes was in Aleppo, Syria- not Turkey. And not all hamsters are descended from one family. there were several more hamsters introduced into the breeding lines since then- at least only a couple that were documented.

Kata Mester said...

Hamsters forever!!!

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