Jan 3, 2023

Are Naked Mole-Rats Immortal?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

When it comes to longevity in the animal kingdom, the Naked mole-rat is often touted as one of the longest living animals known to man, and some say that they functionally do not age, only ever dying of disease or predation. In this article we will investigate these claims, and discover what exactly is so exciting about these aesthetically challenged rodents which has made so many researchers so optimistic about the future of human longevity.

Are Naked Mole-Rats Immortal?

Let’s dispel one of the largest misconceptions about naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber) before we dive into what makes these rodents so interesting. No, naked mole-rats are not immortal in any sense of the word. First documented in 1,842 by German naturalist Eduard Rüppell, we have formally studied this species of rodent for over 180 years, and we have yet to see any immortal naked-mole rats running around, in the wild or otherwise. Neither have we seen a naked mole-rat coming close to the longevity enjoyed by our own species, let alone the longevity enjoyed by other longer lived species such as the giant tortoise. However, it is not the lifespan itself that is so remarkable about the naked mole-rat, but rather its relative longevity compared to other rodents that makes the naked mole-rat so interesting.

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