Nobody knows more about the four-legged star of Groundhog Day than Kenneth Armitage.
An emeritus professor of behavioral ecology at the University of Kansas, Armitage has studied marmots — whose family tree includes the groundhog — for some 50 years. So great is his reputation that Sony turned to him when it released a 15th-anniversary edition of the movie Groundhog Day in 2008, enlisting the master of the marmot to talk on camera about the mammal’s “real life” for a DVD extra.
Armitage visits the Library on the eve of the nation’s observance of Groundhog Day to discuss the cultural influences of this unique celebration and offer insight into the marmot itself. His presentation coincides with the publication of a new book based upon Armitage’s decades of research, Marmot Biology: Sociality, Individual Fitness, and Population Dynamics.