/ Modified jul 10, 2023 10:10 a.m.

Packrat Time Machine

To many, packrats are a nuisance. But to the scientists that study them, they are a key to the past.

To many, packrats are a nuisance. But to the scientists that study their piles of waste called middens, they are a key to understanding the past. Thanks to their affinity for collecting everything around them, and their urine, which crystalizes and preserves anything trapped inside it, we can recreate past environments. These strange “time machines” enable us to see over fifty thousand years back and inform us that things have changed a lot in that time. One remarkable discovery made thanks to our packrat friends, is that not long ago, the Sonoran Desert wasn’t a desert at all.

Producer/Editor: David Fenster
Videographers: Nate Huffman, David Fenster, Jandro Davalos, Zachary Harns

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