Bats—Not Vampires—Hold Secrets To Immortality
If zoologist Emma Teeling is right, bats may be less mythological villains than vampires and more heroic than Batman.
Teeling, director of the Centre for Irish Bat Research, studies the vermin and believes bats may help us discover the secrets to maximum longevity for human beings.
Despite their high metabolic rate, the mix of ingredients in bat DNA make the species extremely resilient, which gives the blind mammals the ability to live nine times longer than evolution expected.
In her TED Talk, Teeling explains the science behind her bold bet that bats are where we may discover our fountain of youth.
“Aging is a big problem for humanity, and I believe that by studying bats, we can uncover the molecular mechanisms that enable mammals to achieve extraordinary longevity,” she says. “If we find out what they’re doing, perhaps through gene therapy, we can enable us to do the same thing. Potentially, this means that we could halt aging or maybe even reverse it.”
We’re not saying you have to wrap your lips around their fuzzy little faces, but next time you spot a bat in the night sky, maybe give it a little smile instead of a blood-curdling shriek.