Scientists have just made a discovery about the naked mole rat that shows this create is even more bizarre than they realized.
An astonishing new discovery about an already bizarre creature, the naked mole rat, suggests that we don’t know the half of just how weird these animals are. Researchers examining the African naked mole rat have found that this hairless, cold-blooded mammal can survive without oxygen, according to the study, which was published in the journal Science.
Researchers already knew that the naked mole rat is a strange mammal, due to the fact that it is cold-blooded like a reptile and regulates its heat by moving to warmer or cooler tunnels, and the fact that they can draw oxygen even out of extremely thin air.
But they wanted to know just how extreme this animal was when it came to surviving in environments with low oxygen. So they put it them in a chamber with 5 percent oxygen, something that would kill a mouse with less than 15 minutes, and found that they lived just fine. When they tried 0 percent oxygen, they passed out by were alive after 18 minutes and resumed normal activities when oxygen was pumped back in.
The Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association notes in a statement: “When oxygen runs low in their underground burrows, naked mole rats have a unique method of survival. Their metabolism switches from a glucose-based system, which depends on oxygen, to one that makes use of fructose. For a while this suffices to protect sensitive organs such as the heart and brain. Scientists of the Max Delbrück Center of Molecular Medicine now explain this unique survival strategy in the current issue of the journal Science.”