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Every year on February 2, crowds gather around the burrow of a groundhog. Loud music blares, people cheer, and eventually, the sleepy groundhog noses his way out of his burrow. According to legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will be coming soon.

But can this rodent actually predict the weather? According to Daniel Blumstein, a professor at UCLA, the answer is no. However, Blumstein is part of a research project that studies the hibernation patterns of marmots. It tracks the differences in time when they emerge in spring. The researchers hope to understand how these animals react to changes in climate.

Learn more about the history of Groundhog Day and what scientists are currently studying about marmots.

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