Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 20, 2011

Study of Bear Hibernation

For the first time, scientists say they have been able to watch a bear’s vital signs continuously during a six-month period of hibernation. To their surprise, the researchers discovered that despite lowering its metabolism by 75 percent, a hibernating bear’s internal temperature barely drops at all.

Researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks recently studied bear hibernation by having them spend the winter in a big box creating a small cave.  Vital signe were monitored for six months. They discovered that although bears lower than their metabolism by 75 percent that their body temperature hardly dropped at all.

Researchers stated

“Bears don’t eat, drink, urinate or defecate for six or seven month… They make their own water, probably by metabolizing fat, and they get rid of wastes by breaking them down internally.  They’re a closed system. All they need is air, and they can do just fine. They’re a metabolic marvel,”

Read the full story at NPR: Hibernating Bears ‘A Metabolic Marvel’ : NPR.

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