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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Why do bats live longer than they should?

An easy answer, though without scientific basis, inspired by myths and vampire movies and novels, would be that they drink blood. Of course, it’s not because of this. Not all of them do this exercise. But, until now, there was no clear and solid answer to this riddle.

A new study, recently completed, examines this issue, focusing on the specific case of the bat, Eptesicus fuscus, the most common species in the United States. This animal, also known as the “Great Brown Bat” and other popular names, lives to an average age of 19 years, an unusually long time if we look only at the most common biological longevity factors.

This study was conducted by Gerald Wilkinson, Isabel R. Sullivan and Danielle M. Adams, trio from the University of Maryland in the United States, as well as Lucas J.S. Greville and Paul A. of the University of Waterloo in Canada. from McMaster University in Faure, Canada.

The authors of the study have managed to unravel the mystery of this bat’s extraordinary longevity, which certainly explains the longevity of other bat species.

Wilkinson and his colleagues conclude that hibernation is what slows down the biological clock of these animals. Hibernation has allowed bats and other animals to live in regions of the far north or far south of the planet where there is no food in winter.

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A bat of the species Eptisicus fuscus. (Photo: Brock and Sherry Fenton. CC BY,

The researchers determined that hibernation during one winter adds several additional months to a large brown bat’s epigenetic clock. The epigenetic clock is a biological marker of aging.

This fits with the fact that animals that hibernate to withstand the rigors of a season in their environment tend to live longer than those that face the same problem, a Move to a distant place where the weather is mild.

The study is titled “Big Brown Bats Experience Slow Epigenetic Aging During Hibernation.” And it has been published in the academic journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences.

Wilkinson is planning a follow-up study to compare the epigenetic aging of great brown bats in Canada, where they hibernate due to harsh winter weather, with bats of the same species in Florida, where they hibernate. Don’t because they’ve been there so long. low cool. By doing so, Wilkinson hopes to learn even more about the role of hibernation in prolonging life. (Font: NCYT D Amazing,

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