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Naked mole rats defy laws of life and death

Rats just got even creepier.

As if these rodents aren’t awful enough to begin with, some of them appear to be age-proof.

So say scientists studying naked mole rats, essentially cold-blooded, hairless and nearly blind mammals that look like deflated, wrinkly-pink balloons.

If balloons had protruding teeth.

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The animals live underground and thrive in deserts of East Africa and have previously been shown to be immune to cancer and pain.

Super rats, basically.

Naked mole rats have been found to defy the scientific laws of death.

Naked mole rats have been found to defy the scientific laws of death.


Now researchers from Google’s research and development company Calico have found that the sand puppies — as they’re also called — can also cheat death, according to a study in the journal eLife.

While humans and other mammals conform to scientific mortality laws by experiencing an exponentially increasing risk of death as they get older, naked mole rats “defy” the laws.

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Humans’ chance of dying roughly doubles each year after 30. Other mammals’ odds increase too. But mole rats odds of dying don’t increase as they get older.

“Their risk of death does not increase even at 25 times past their time to reproductive maturity,” researchers note.

Findings are based on meticulously studying the records of more than 3,200 naked mole rats. The naked mole rats’ expected lifespan in a lab is about 6 years. But some live to be over 30 years old, and even remain able to breed.

Researchers suggest that these rats transcend everything they know about mammalian biology that makes them an “exceptional model” to “further our understanding of the biological mechanisms of longevity.”

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