These Arctic ground squirrels at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks are sleeping so soundly that, when handled, it takes them three hours just to wake up. Indeed, they are grand champion hibernators, sleeping up to seven months a year or more. "You could put people into hibernation for space trips if you could understand it better," said Franziska 'Fran' Kohl, one of the biologists here. "They also show symptoms of Alzheimer's during hibernation."
This cold-weather rodent is also the only mammal that can drop its body temperature to below freezing. Most impressively, it can completely heal traumatic brain injuries while hibernating. Biologists at UAF have been studying this species for more than 20 years, but many mysteries still remain.
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