The Tale of Two Squirrels

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The Tale of Two Squirrels

Kaibab Squirrel Abert Squirrel


When the Grand Canyon was forming, a single population of tassel-eared squirrels may have been separated into two groups. Today, descendants of the two groups live on opposite sides of the canyon. The two groups share many characteristics, but they do not look the same. For example, both groups have tasseled ears, but each group has a unique fur color pattern. An important difference between the groups is that the Abert squirrels live on the south rim of the canyon, and the Kaibab squirrels live on the north rim.
The environments on the two sides of the Grand Canyon are different. The north rim is about 370 m higher than the south rim. Almost twice as much precipitation falls on the north rim than on the south rim every year. Over many generations, the two groups of squirrels have adapted to their new environments. Over time, the groups became very different. Many scientists think that the two types of squirrels are no longer the same species. The development of these two squirrel groups is an example of speciation in progress.
1. Which of the following statements best describes the main idea of this passage?

a. Speciation is evident in two groups of squirrels in the Grand Canyon area.

b. Two groups of squirrels on the north and south rim of the Grand Canyon look the same.

c. The environment on the north rim is different than the south rim.

d. There are two groups of squirrels because they don’t get along with one another.

2. How did these squirrels become different species?

a. They don’t look the same.

b. One lives in trees while the other in rocks.

c. They were separated from the rest of the population by the canyon.

d. The 2 populations didn’t get along with each other.

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