In the deep still of winter many animals are hibernating. What knowledge or inspiration can humans gain from our hibernating kin? The following websites present important and interesting information that people have discovered from studying hibernation. The first site, both comprehensive and well-designed, provides a good overview of hibernation and defines related terms such as torpor, estivation, and diapause. This website also supplies great information about warm-blooded and cold-blooded hibernators (1). The second site presents an Australian Institute of Alpine Studies Conference Abstract by Michelle Walter and Linda Broome on the importance of snow as an insulator for "both endothermic and ectothermic hibernators" (2). The third and fourth sites both discuss scientific investigations and discoveries of human genes for hibernation. The third site presents an article from the London Times in February of 2000 that reports on scientific hibernation studies in Britain and at North Carolina State University (3). The fourth site presents a NCSU press release describing how Dr. Matthew Andrews and his research team "have identified and mapped two genes for enzymes that play important roles in hibernation of ground squirrels, and have discovered that these genes are nearly identical to ones found in nonhibernating mammals, including humans." These discoveries could potentially help physicians in areas such as organ preservation and hypothermia treatment (4). The fifth and sixth sites also address connections between hibernation research and potential advances in medicine. Both sites provide detailed information about different scientific studies on hibernation aimed at treating strokes (5) and the sixth site, from Whyfiles, also reports on hibernation/organ transplant research, and hibernator mating (6). The seventh site is an educational overview of hibernation hosted by Environmental Education for Kids!, a great electronic magazine designed for kids in grades 4-8 (7). The eighth site hosted by perpetual preschool, provides great preschool activities under categories of hibernation songs, snacks, art, science, and games (8).
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