Why Groundhog Day Now Elevates Science Over Superstition

For a UCLA Biologist, Celebrating the Lowly Marmot Could Shed Light on Global Warming

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 ground-hoggery 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 …

More In: Animals

Coyotes Are Just Like Hipsters

They Come to the City for the Good Life, and They Eat Your Rats

Everyone in America has a coyote story. Or if you don’t, give it time. You will.

The tawny, golden-eyed, sharp-nosed wild dog of the American deserts is now our backyard …

Why France Continues to Bitterly Defend Fatty Goose Livers

Despite Controversy, Foie Gras Production Remains a Crucial Entity to the Country's Identity

Vacations to the southwestern countryside have long been a staple of French life. People escape urban centers to visit ancient churches, beautiful gardens, and magnificent castles. They enjoy outdoor activities …

Why Do Americans Put Pets, Not Their Owners, on Trial?

The Bizarre History Behind Our Current Canine Legal System Is Full of Rats, Pigs, and Moles

When a Japanese Akita named Taro bit the lip of a 10-year-old New Jersey girl in 1991, police seized the dog and a judge ordered him destroyed. Taro’s owners appealed …

Are India’s Elephants Blessed Creatures or Indentured Servants?

Photographs of Majestic Animals Caught Between Two Roles—and Two Eras

In 2011, I visited the magnificent Amber Fort in Jaipur, in the Rajasthan region of India. The beautiful Hindu-style architecture of the fort is adorned with large ramparts and cobbled …

Wisconsin, Monster Capital of America?

Forget Football and Cheese. My Home State Should Be Famous for Its Shaggy Werewolves and Shape-Shifting Schoolteachers.

The Pine Barrens of New Jersey may reverberate with the fetid screams of the cloven-hooved demon known as the Jersey Devil. The redwood forests of the Pacific Northwest may shake …