Hibernating marmots don’t seem to age – could humans do the same?

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yellow bellied marmot

The yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris)

Cultura Creative RF / Alamy

A KEY sign of ageing slows right down when marmots are hibernating.

“They may not age during this process,” says Gabriela Pinho at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). This suggests we might be able to induce similar changes to put humans in suspended animation for long-distance space travel.

Pinho has been studying wild yellow-bellied marmots – a kind of ground squirrel – in Colorado. These animals hibernate for up to eight months a year, dropping their body temperature as low as 5°C.

Starting in 2004, Pinho and her …

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