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Naked Mole-Rat Facts
Naked mole rats defy the biological law of aging | Science | AAAS
Studying at Cambridge. The naked mole-rat Heterocephalus glaber is a mammal with a truly bizarre appearance, looking like an elongated cocktail sausage with large, protruding teeth. Naked mole-rats live in large underground colonies of approximately 80 animals, which are dominated by a single breeding female, the queen; this social system is highly unusual in mammals, but is similar to that commonly observed in bees and termites and is termed eusocial 1. Over the last decade further physiological peculiarities of naked mole-rat physiology have come to light:. While such phenomena are of great interest there has been little work identifying their causes, although there is clearly much that could be learned from the naked mole-rat that could aid advances 2. In , scientists from the University of Cambridge Department of Pharmacology established the University of Cambridge Naked Mole-Rat Initiative NMRI , which aims to bring together experts in different scientific areas with the overarching aim being to identify molecular explanations for the highly unusual physiology of this species.
The weird and wonderful world of the naked mole rat
All rights reserved. There are many different kinds of mole rats. The best known is probably the naked mole rat, whose hairless, tubular, wrinkled body makes it appear a bit like a tiny walrus—or perhaps a bratwurst with teeth. Naked mole rats are rodents, but they live in communities like those of many insects. Several dozen rats live together in colonies led by one dominant rat—the queen.
Just when it seemed the naked mole rat couldn't get any weirder, it turns out the buck-toothed, bare-skinned rodents don't even age. Unlike literally every other mammal, naked mole rats don't become more likely to die as they get up there in years. In humans, for example, with all else being equal besides age, a person's risk of dying doubles every 8 years after age For naked mole rats Heterocephalus glaber , there is no increase in the risk of death even when the rats are 25 times older than the onset of sexual maturity. Naked mole rats are famously wrinkled rodents, native to East African deserts.