Scientists from the University of Aberdeen School of Biological Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have completed a 13-year long investigation into the survival strategies of an enigmatic small mammal, the plateau pika, that lives on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in China.

Pika cannot hibernate and so their survival strategies are of interest: particularly in the context of how these might be impacted by future climate change. This is also economically important for indigenous Tibetan yak herders because pika are considered an agricultural pest that compete with domestic yak for food.

Their work, published today in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that pika suppress their energy demands and exploit an unusual food source – eating the faeces of their competitor the yak.

Full UoA Article

Notes for Editors

PublishedWednesday July 21st, 2021