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Can mechanisms used during hibernation help animals colonize new habitats?

Date:
March 16, 2015
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
Heterothermy, the ability of some animals to lower their metabolism and body temperature, is traditionally seen as an effective adaptation to predictable seasonal bottlenecks of unproductive cold periods. A new review suggests that the use of heterothermy may have been used as a response to acute emergency situations in animals that colonized Madagascar.
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Heterothermy, the ability of some animals to lower their metabolism and body temperature, is traditionally seen as an effective adaptation to predictable seasonal bottlenecks of unproductive cold periods. A new review suggests that the use of heterothermy may have been used as a response to acute emergency situations in animals that colonized Madagascar.

Land mammals from Africa may have colonized Madagascar by rafting on drifting vegetation, and heterothermy may have facilitated survival on rafts and after colonization. Furthermore, delayed childbirth and prolonged sperm storage would have allowed females to reach the island with unborn offspring and to establish a founder population. Indeed, all recent taxa of land mammals found on Madagascar or their close relatives include representatives that use heterothermy.

"Our article uses the colonization of Madagascar as an example, although the concept is true for any colonization event. Torpor is incredibly useful when it comes to surviving periods without, or only limited access to, food and water, such as during a raft on the ocean or a journey to unhospitable landscapes," said Dr. Julia Nowack, lead author of the Mammal Review article.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Julia Nowack, Kathrin H. Dausmann. Can heterothermy facilitate the colonization of new habitats? Mammal Review, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/mam.12037

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Can mechanisms used during hibernation help animals colonize new habitats?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150316134922.htm>.
Wiley. (2015, March 16). Can mechanisms used during hibernation help animals colonize new habitats?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150316134922.htm
Wiley. "Can mechanisms used during hibernation help animals colonize new habitats?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150316134922.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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