Christian Sidor, UW Biology professor, and Megan Whitney, former UW Biology doctoral student, co-authored a paper published in Communications Biology reporting evidence of a hibernation-like state in Lystrosaurus, an animal that lived in Antarctica during the Early Triassic, some 250 million years ago.
The creature, a member of the genus Lystrosaurus, was a distant relative of mammals. Antarctica during Lystrosaurus’ time lay largely within the Antarctic Circle, like today, and experienced extended periods without sunlight each winter.
The fossils are the oldest evidence of a hibernation-like state in a vertebrate, and indicate that torpor — a general term for hibernation and similar states in which animals temporarily lower their metabolic rate to get through a tough season — arose in vertebrates even before mammals and dinosaurs evolved.
Read the full article in UW News.