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The naked mole-rats incredible secrets

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  • The naked mole-rats incredible secrets

    BD Biosciences June 2012 » Cover Story » Features
    Underground Supermodels

    What can a twentysomething naked mole-rat tell us about fighting pain, cancer, and aging?

    Han: "We are all ready to win, just as we are born knowing only life. It is defeat that you must learn to prepare for"

  • #2
    Naked mole rats are unique in lots of ways. They live in very dry places and this has led to a great solution to the problem of getting enough foodwithout losing too much water:
    1. Their food is tubers and digging through the soil to find them is an energy consuming way of travelling. This leads to higher rates of respiration and therfore water loss. In the driest areas it is even harder to find food because there is less of it and it is even more important to conserve water.
    2. Living in large groups means more food is found but on the downside it needs to feed more individuals so more food is needed. This raises the energy, and therefore water demand of the colony. Being small reduces energy demand but it increases surface area to volume ratio and therfore increases water loss. Something else apart from being small is needed:
    3. The energy consumption of the individual rats, and therefore the colony, is less if the rats do not use nergy to keep their body temperature up. This means their respiration rate is lower and water demand is also lower. Naked mole rats are the only cold blooded mammals.