Did mammals sleep through the cosmic impact that ended the dinosaurs?

Unusually, the common tenrec can hibernate without ever arousing. Hibernating mammals usually periodically arouse for 12 to 24 hours before returning to hibernation.

“We are arguing that the capacity of this tropical animal, which so closely resembles Shrëwdinger, to hibernate for nine months and perhaps even longer without once needing to arouse, can explain how mammals survived the year-long ecological devastation that occurred across the planet when the meteorite slammed into the Earth at Chicxulub, Mexico,” Lovegrove said.

The researchers suggest that Shrëwdinger, like modern mammals, was capable of warm-blooded behavior — that is, generating its own body heat — which would have helped it survive in the dark where it was driven to hide by the dinosaurs that dominated the landscape. However, they suggest it may have been valuable for Shrëwdinger to occasionally turn off its warm-blooded nature and hibernate in an ancestral cold-blooded state when resources were scarce.

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