When most mammals, including humans, are in a low-oxygen environment they begin to hyperventilate to increase their oxygen uptake. However this is an energetically costly way to increase oxygen levels in the body. The naked mole rat is unique from other mammals; when it is exposed to hypoxia (low oxygen levels) it does not begin to hyperventilate. Instead researchers found the naked mole rat changes its metabolic rate, allowing them to increase oxygen uptake and remain active without hyperventilating.

Original research paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on March 22, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected authors

Matthew E. Pamenter, Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ontario