Well, wouldn’t you be busy if entire ecosystems were dependent on you?

They’re the ecosystem engineers of North America and Europe, and they’ve been on this planet for millions of years; working hard to shape, build, and support the environments around them. This article is an ode to the beaver and a look at what makes them so remarkable.

Right now, you’d only be able to find two species of beaver on the planet; Castor fiber from Europe, and Castor canadensis that hails from North America. The differences between the two come down to scent, nose shape (C.canadensis has a shorter, more rounded nasal bone), and chromosome numbers (C.fiber has 48, while C.canadensis has 40), meaning they aren’t able to mate together and create a powerful “hybrid beaver”. 1

If you’ve been near a body of water in either of these regions, then you’ve likely seen traces of them; gnawed off trees, intricately piled pieces of wood, and a healthy looking ecosystem in the surrounding area. They’re crucial players in the environments they’re present in; making it possible for other species to live their healthiest lives. But why is this so? What makes them so dam important?

Here’s one of our favorite channels, It’s Okay To Be Smart, to show us!

We sure have a lot to thank them for, eh?

Our entire world would be different without beavers. They’ve been around for awhile, shaping the earth and building unique, thriving ecosystems.

No really, they’ve been here for awhile. In the 1800s, people began studying these weird spirals in the ground of Nevada that were pleasantly named, “Devil’s Corkscrews”. It was long a mystery what creature made these winding towers, but it turns out that the long-lost land-dwelling relatives of the beavers we know and love today were also making some pretty smart homes for themselves! (Did you see their lodge in the video above? So clever!)

Thankfully, we get to learn all about this ancient species of beaver and their smart living spaces in this video from yet another one of our favorite channels, PBS Eons! Take a look…

Via: PBS Eons 3

This just makes me wonder, how many other stories are trapped in the earth?

If we can learn this much about the ancient relatives of the beavers who chew our trees today from these towering spirals that have stumped scientists for years, what other already discovered items are just waiting for us to connect the dots and figure out who they truly are?

6 minutes

A Story Told in Millions of Fossils

The La Brea Tar Pits are home to some of the world's richest fossil deposits. So, what unique insights can we glean those millions of specimens? Why is having one more dire wolf skull in a collection of thousands so important?

Read More

Before you go…

Anyone remember this viral beaver video from 2009? It’s one of my favorites that I had completely forgotten about until putting this article together! If you want to giggle, here you go…

As always, stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein 

Looking to meet more of the amazing animals we share this planet with?

Dive into this category to see who you find:

Animals on EWC

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  1. Nummi, P. (2010): NOBANIS – Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet – Castor canadensis. – From: Online Database of the European Network on Invasive Alien Species – NOBANIS www.nobanis.org, Date of access 07/06/2018.
  2. “Why BEAVERS Are The Smartest Thing In Fur Pants.” YouTube, It’s Okay To Be Smart, 19 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm6X77ShHa8. Accessed 5 July 2018.
  3. “Untangling the Devil’s Corkscrew.” YouTube, PBS Eons, 29 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdfFoSC8_7k. Accessed 5 July 2018.
  4. “Talking Beaver on the Highway.” YouTube, Talking Animals, 1 Mar. 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=sekLEG8xsOs. Accessed 6 July 2018.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.