african mole rat

Animals, especially mammals, need oxygen to keep their bodies and brains humming along.

But leave it to the African naked mole-rat to buck that trend. The rodents are bizarre in just about every way. They’re hairless, ground-dwelling and cold-blooded despite being mammals. Now, scientists report in the journal Science that the animals are capable of surviving oxygen deprivation.

“They have evolved under such a different environment that it’s like studying an animal from another planet,” says Thomas Park, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Researchers Find Yet Another Reason Why Naked Mole-Rats Are Just Weird

Photo: Roland Gockel/Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine