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Hibernating horses?
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Pauline Moore

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 2nd, 2014 10:16 am
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Dr Deb

There was an interesting article in Equine Science Update this week (link below) about Spanish researchers concluding that horses living some 4,500 years ago in the Siberian area may have been hibernators or semi-hibernators.

They referred to similarities with contemporary Yakutian horses in Siberia that "have an unusually thick layer of fat under the skin and in the abdomen. During the winter, although they move a little, they stay mainly in the sleeping position with little feeding or other activity."

Prof Richard Johnson, in his book 'The Fat Switch' suggests that insulin resistance is not a disease, but a normal mechanism used by hibernating animals to quickly accumulate fat for their long 'sleep' in winter. So now I'm wondering if some of our modern IR horses carry 'hibernating genes' that cause them to accumulate fat in preparation for a long winter that never arrives.

Do you know anything about what would appear to be hibernation-like characteristics of these modern Yakut horses?



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