First primate hibernator found, as reported in Nature, vol. 429, p825 and New Scientist, 26 June 2004, p16. A group of scientists from three German Universities have studied the sleeping habits of the Madagascan fat tailed lemur and found that it hibernates for up to seven months of the year. This makes it the first tropical animal known to undergo prolonged hibernation. Because the temperatures remain warm in Madagascar all year round the lemurs can hibernate in tree hollows, which are less well insulated than the burrows used by cold climate hibernators. During hibernation lemurs allow their body temperatures to rise and fall in line with the ambient temperature and remain asleep even if the temperature goes above 30 degrees Celsius. Hibernation has been defined as a state of low metabolic activity and low body temperature. The scientists who carried out this study suggest that hibernation be re-defined as a state of low metabolic activity, irrespective of body temperature.
Editorial Comment: Hibernation is usually associated with cold climates. The fact that an animal can hibernate for such a long time in tropical conditions provides a clue as to how the animals on Noah’s Ark were able to survive their year of confinement during the flood, and how Noah and his seven family members were able to care for so many animals. Since the climate before the flood seems to have been without any severe winter, Creation Research predicts the ability to hibernate, or to go into a torpid or prolonged sleep state, will be found to exist in many other land animals, since all land creatures were on the ark. (Ref. lemur, hibernation, Madagascar, prediction)