The poo poo eating, cancer fighting sand puppy
I hate to break it to you, but nature has won once again.
With our many technological advances we may consider ourselves finalists in the evolution competition:
(Image from Software Creation Mystery)
But, we haven’t been able to ward of something like cancer.
This is where nature wins.
An unsuspecting character happens to have this skill, immunity to cancer. Please welcome…the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glabe):
Or sand puppy, desert mole rat, whatever you choose.
Perhaps God had mercy and gave it cancer immunity due to the apparently very, short straw it drew on looks.
Yet, this beauty has more to offer than the ability to ward off cancer.
This eusocial mammal cannot feel pain either due to the lack of a specific neurotransmitter. I think this means that we all need to ask other crucial questions like: Does that mean it can’t feel love either?…
The East African native lives up to 28 years in underground systems and it uses those large protruding teeth to dig new tunnels and eat.
The diet: Well you know the typical tuber and its own FECES!
That’s right they eat tubers that weigh up to 1000 times their own body weight, which is a feat in itself. But when those are scarce, well they recycle. (See, they’re environmentalists too.)
The put back in what just came out: POOP.
Which goes to show you that super skills often come with super trade-offs (non-”wins”).
These thin-legged underground dwellers can’t see well but they can move backwards as fast as they go forwards, which has in humans, been proven to tone the rear.
Which may explain their confidence to go it in the nude like so many other super heros.
Case in point Mystique: Althought I’m pretty sure that’s not a fair comparison…in many ways.
So the next time you think or meet a naked mole rat don’t be quick to judge.
Just remember that it in many ways has superhero qualities while it nakedly runs around backwards, painless, cancer-free and eating its own poo poo.
More naked mole rat action in the New York Times.