Amazing animals: fasting fish and penguins’ “microdreams”
How do fish respond to fasting, and can the latest research be applied to humans? It was checked by scientists from the Max Planck Institute on Aging in Cologne, who were studying killifish. According to the institute’s director, Adam Antebi, young fish responded better to fasting than older fish, which showed signs of increased inflammation beyond what we typically see in the ageing process. After genetically changing the amino acid, older fish lived about 10 to 20% longer thanks to fasting, and their tissues looked much younger. In humans, such a change could be induced pharmacologically.
Can new parents learn from penguins how to get enough sleep while caring for a newborn? During the mating season, Chinstrap penguins sleep only about 4 seconds per session to protect their eggs and newborn chicks. However, it happens thousands of times a day. These “micro dreams” last approximately 11 hours per day, allowing the penguins to regenerate and remain constantly alert.
Dolly and Donna, bottlenose dolphins from the Nuremberg Zoo in Germany, probably can electrorecept or sense electric fields in water. It allows them to detect prey buried in the sand or improve their navigation. Sharks and rays work similarly, detecting weak electric fields generated by the bodies of their prey. According to biologist Tim Huttner, when a dolphin “gets its head stuck in the sand while hunting, echolocation and vision become impaired, and electroreception can help the dolphin successfully capture a fish.”