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The Naked Mole-Rat: An Unusual Organism with an Unexpected Latent Potential for Increased Intelligence?

1
Astrobiology Group, Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (ZAA), Technical University Berlin, 10623 Berlin, Germany
2
School of the Environment, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163, USA
Received: 17 July 2019 / Revised: 13 August 2019 / Accepted: 28 August 2019 / Published: 16 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Astrobiology)
Naked mole-rats are eusocial, hairless mammals that are uniquely adapted to their harsh, low-oxygen subsurface habitat. Although their encephalization quotient, a controversial marker of intelligence, is low, they exhibit many features considered tell-tale signs of highly intelligent species on our planet including longevity, plasticity, social cohesion and interaction, rudimentary language, sustainable farming abilities, and maintaining sanitary conditions in their self-built complex housing structures. It is difficult to envision how naked mole-rats would reach even higher levels of intelligence in their natural sensory-challenged habitat, but such an evolutionary path cannot be excluded if they would expand their range onto the earth’s surface. View Full-Text
Keywords: eusociality; intelligence; adaptation; evolution; extreme environment; animal eusociality; intelligence; adaptation; evolution; extreme environment; animal
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Schulze-Makuch, D. The Naked Mole-Rat: An Unusual Organism with an Unexpected Latent Potential for Increased Intelligence? Life 2019, 9, 76.

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