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The Naked Mole-Rat: An Unusual Organism with an Unexpected Latent Potential for Increased Intelligence?

Schulze-Makuch, Dirk

Naked mole-rats are eusocial, hairless mammals that are uniquely adapted to their harsh, low-oxygen subsurface habitat. Although their encephalization quotient, a controversial marker of intelligence, is low, they exhibit many features considered tell-tale signs of highly intelligent species on our planet including longevity, plasticity, social cohesion and interaction, rudimentary language, sustainable farming abilities, and maintaining sanitary conditions in their self-built complex housing structures. It is difficult to envision how naked mole-rats would reach even higher levels of intelligence in their natural sensory-challenged habitat, but such an evolutionary path cannot be excluded if they would expand their range onto the earth’s surface.
Published in: Life, 10.3390/life9030076, MDPI