18 minutes without oxygen isn't far-fetched for humans.
The Guinness world record for "longest time breath held voluntarily (male)" is a bit over 24 minutes.
So, yeah, that line in the article that says "no warm-blooded mammal can...come close to the naked mole-rat’s 18-minute record" seems to be painfully and stupidly wrong.
The interesting part is not that they survive for 18 minutes. The interesting part is that they do fine at 5% oxygen and that seemingly they (almost?) hold their breaths involuntarily after they pass out at lower levels.
It's basically to fool your body into thinking you've got enough oxygen (since it's C02 buildup in the lungs that triggers the out of air signal to the brain, not the lack of oxygen).
Hence why hyperventilating for, say, free diving can cause one to black out without triggering the suffocation reflex as one returns to the surface of the water.
Many people assume metabolism is proportional to surface area based on the argument above. This idea was first proposed by Max Rubner in 1883. In the 1930’s, Max Kleiber proposed that metabolism increases according to body mass raised to the power 3/4. If metabolism were proportional to volume, the exponent would be 1. If it were proportional to surface area, the exponent would be 2/3. But Kleiber’s law says it’s somewhere in between, namely 3/4.
Its not clear which, if either, theory is correct. But both agree t
So are the fingernails.
Well you know what they say; if you can't beat them, join them.
Heck, the human record is something like 20 minutes, by some free diver.
The record you are referring to involves breathing pure oxygen beforehand, is 24 minutes, and is nonetheless amazing.
I'd always thought the egg laying, electrolocating Platypus was the strangest mammal:
"The platypus feeds by neither sight nor smell, closing its eyes, ears, and nose each time it dives. Rather, when it digs in the bottom of streams with its bill, its electroreceptors detect tiny electric currents generated by muscular contractions of its prey"
> But naked mole-rats? Although they lose consciousness after 30 seconds, and their heart rates crash after two minutes, and they stop breathing entirely after seven minutes, they can survive for a ridiculous 18 minutes.
Maybe normal parasites also die from lack of oxygen.
Performing this experiment could have far-reaching implications. Perhaps it ends up helping scientists understand whether or not such an adaptation could transfer to humans. Or maybe it ends up being crucial in helping us understand the function of a seemingly unrelated process in the human body.
It's important to note that ethics committees nowadays are extremely strict when it comes to using live subjects, humans or otherwise, so rest assured that the experimenters did their best to minimize the suffering of the rats. If they didn't, their work would probably never be accepted for funding and/or publication.
When humans test on humans (in modern societies where things haven't gone horribly awry), care is given as to whether it's safe for the individual and would help them. Consent is a big word you'd never hear in an animal study. Animal testing is weighed against what benefits "science" in some way and some sort of "unnecessarily cruel" metric which doesn't seem to account for much. Anecdotally, my girl friend is a neuroscientist and has heard about things going on in labs that would make your skin crawl. One study that came to mind is on rats defending their territory based on how much food they were given, led to rats basically ripping each-other apart on camera.
We say these things are okay, and important, but when I think that almost 13,000 animals were killed, beagles, cats, monkeys, rats, just so we could have splenda, I think that whatever we value non-human life at must be so trivially small.
> Animal testing is weighed against what benefits us in even the slightest way and is some sort of "unnecessarily cruel" metric.
> We say these things are okay, and important, but when I think that almost 13,000 animals were killed, beagles, cats, monkeys, rats, just so we could have splenda, I think that whatever we value non-human life at must be so trivially small.
That is a deeply philosophical argument. We can obviously agree that -- all things being equal -- a human's life is worth more than an animal's life. But exactly how much more valuable is it? Can we accurately quantify how many mice can die so one human can live? Does it depend on the animal and its intelligence, at least as we perceive it? The questions can go on and on with no end in sight.
Now, I'm honestly not intimately familiar with what goes in the life sciences, particularly when it comes to experimenting on live subjects. Nonetheless, I am convinced that modern ethical standards are a good way to set universal limits to what can be done to animals in a laboratory setting, while also ensuring that we as humans benefit from the results. The alternatives would be either to delay the discovery of new procedures because we don't want to hurt animals, or to just experiment on humans directly. Neither of these sounds like a better option to me.
Normally I would agree, but, for example, if there is news that an Elephant trampled a poacher to death you won't find many readers rooting not for the animal.
That's the thing with models, they're just models and ultimately they will have flaws. We rely heavily on animal testing and have built up reasoning to say why it's right, and that it helps, but we also don't know how much it hurts our own science with ridiculous blunders like that. Another recen inflammation, and they've been used for decades!
That being said, do I think science would progress slower without animal testing, or just far less and safer for the animal testing? Sure, probably, but it's worth the cost, and we'll get some benefits with less horrible blunders by relying on models. Another example, science could progress a lot faster if got rid of safety laws to test on humans, but somethings are just wrong so we don't do it.
> Another recent study showed that rats handle inflammation very differently than humans, making lots of past research useless and they've been used for decades!
No, not at all. Ethics are relative. Sure, this is the a generally accepted opinion in our society, but so was slavery.
It's far too easy to ignore the atrocities in our system.
I gotta be honest, 13,000 animals for a common food product is pretty much a drop in the bucket. Amortize Splenda's animal cost over a 40 year usage timeline against beef, and you're talking 0.001%. (And would drop rapidly if I included chickens, pork, and fish.)
About 440g of pinto beans for $0.8, so about 120g/$1 for protein.
Ground beef according to Google factoid was $4/lb in mid-2015, so about 30g/$1 for protein.
It sounds like beef is already an expensive source of protein.
If you want to depress yourself further read about the "Great" Emu War.
Not to be a debbie downer, but a lot progress, especially pre-20th century is built on human misery and suffering.
> It's important to note that ethics committees nowadays are extremely strict when it comes to using live subjects, humans or otherwise, so rest assured that the experimenters did their best to minimize the suffering of the rats. If they didn't, their work would probably never be accepted for funding and/or publication.
I don't buy it. These ethics committees are starting with the presumption that it's ok to use animals in experiments to begin with. Have they outlawed vivisection yet? I've talked to a researcher at a large US state school who routinely sawed through monkey's skulls and installed removable, screw-on skull caps so that they could poke and prod at their brains more easily.
I mean, I'm a hypocrite for saying that though. I still eat chicken. But I don't delude myself about it.