The Naked Mole-Rat’s Hidden Talents

This wild critter has the key to eternal youth and cancer resistance.

This wild critter has the key to eternal youth and cancer resistance.

naked mole-rat
Via BBC/YouTube
The naked mole-rat is the only known creature to produce a substance that makes them cancer-resistant.

The naked mole-rat is not the most attractive critter to roam the planet. It is saber-toothed, is shaped like a sausage and has very loose skin. But what this wild creature lacks in beauty it makes up for in health.

It spends its whole life in underground burrows in Africa with 300 other naked mole-rats. The BBC reports in the video below that oxygen levels in the burrows are very low, there are high levels of carbon dioxide and burrows are hot and claustrophobic (count me out!). Despite these conditions, the naked mole-rat can live up to 30 years – almost 10 times as long as a mouse, Dr. Chris Faulkes reveals in the video. Not only do the naked mole-rats have long lives, they don’t show any signs of aging.


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But that’s not all. In addition to eternal youth, these critters are also cancer-resistant. The secret to that, according to BBC, is found in their loose skin. Their skin produces a substance called high molecular weight hyaluronan, which is what makes them resistant to cancer. The discovery of this benefit has led scientists to try to copy the substance for human health benefits.

Perhaps odd looks is a welcome trade to slowing down the aging process and resisting cancer. What do you think?

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