(San Diego Union) A San Diego State University research project involving robotic squirrels has been placed on Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual list of wasteful government spending, a move the campus says is unfair and misleading.

Coburn, R-Okla., issued the list last week, criticizing everything from the use of food stamps to purchase fast food to a subsidy for a struggling ferry business in Alaska.

The list also is critical of the National Science Foundation for allowing SDSU and its collaborators at UC Davis to use public money to develop and use robotic squirrels to study animal behavior. Researchers created several versions of the “RoboSquirrel,” which has a remote-controlled tail to make it more lifelike in the eyes of snakes, a key predator.

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