Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Surprisingly long survival of premature conclusions about naked mole-rat biology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Satomi Miwa, Professor Thomas von Zglinicki



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2020 Cambridge Philosophical Society. Naked mole-rats express many unusual traits for such a small rodent. Their morphology, social behaviour, physiology, and ageing have been well studied over the past half-century. Many early findings and speculations about this subterranean species persist in the literature, although some have been repeatedly questioned or refuted. While the popularity of this species as a natural-history curiosity, and oversimplified story-telling in science journalism, might have fuelled the perpetuation of such misconceptions, an accurate understanding of their biology is especially important for this new biomedical model organism. We review 28 of these persistent myths about naked mole-rat sensory abilities, ecophysiology, social behaviour, development and ageing, and where possible we explain how these misunderstandings came about.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Braude S, Holtze S, Begall S, Brenmoehl J, Burda H, Dammann P, del Marmol D, Gorshkova E, Henning Y, Hoeflich A, Hohn A, Jung T, Hamo D, Sahm A, Shebzukhov Y, Sumbera R, Miwa S, Vyssokikh MY, von Zglinicki T, Averina O, Hildebrandt TB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biological Reviews

Year: 2021

Volume: 96

Issue: 2

Pages: 376-393

Print publication date: 01/04/2021

Online publication date: 30/10/2020

Acceptance date: 13/10/2020

Date deposited: 05/07/2021

ISSN (print): 1464-7931

ISSN (electronic): 1469-185X

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/brv.12660


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Projekt DEAL