Pikas and woodrats

Denise Dearing of the University of Utah sent us some pika and woodcut fecal samples to analyze. The samples were collected from the western US. Going through the data with her emphasizes a common theme: we don’t have good data on what animals eat. Except for animals that were fed controlled diets, the DNA in the fecals was always significantly different than what was expected. No fault of anyone’s but it is just inherently difficult to observe consumption, while microhistology and isotopes have their limitations. As for what pikas and woodrats specifically eat, more to come.