All domesticated Golden North American hamsters are descendants of a Golden Hamster captured in Syria in 1930!
We all love those little blond balls of fluff and teeth, as they run in infinite circles on their hamster wheels. It’s true that some golden hamsters are large, while some are microscopic, but each of these hamster’s ancestry can be traced back to a pregnant golden hamster found by Israel Aharoni, a zoologist and professor at the University of Jerusalem, in 1930.
That hamster soon gave birth to her babies and they were all bred as laboratory animals. Some however, escaped through a hole in the floor and most of Israel’s hamsters are believed to be descended from that litter. The remaining captive hamsters were shipped to Britain, and after research, they were passed down to private breeders in the USA.
Recent mitochondrial DNA studies (by the people who study hamster DNA) have shown that all domestic golden hamsters in North America are related to one female-probably a golden one captured in Syria in 1930.