Naked Mole Rats were already weird. They got even weirder this past year when it was discovered that these cold-blooded, long-lived, pain-immune, cancer-resistant rats could also survive for extended periods without oxygen.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago slowly and carefully began to deprive the Rats of oxygen for up to 18 minutes; in another test, the rats were kept alive at below adequate oxygen levels for over five hours. In both instances, the Naked Mole Rats survived unharmed.
Most animals – obviously – need oxygen to survive. It helps convert glucose into energy: no oxygen, no life. The study was published in April’s edition of Science, and in it, researchers noted that Naked Mole Rats use glucose in the same way, but their bodies can switch it up, and use fructose instead. Fructose is a different kind of sugar, one that doesn’t require oxygen to produce energy.
Scientist hope this research could be used to help stroke victims and heart attack patients in the future
There’s more stories from 2017. Check out the Best of 2017 series here