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Here's how hairless animals avoid skin cancer

If you observe hairless and thin-haired animals in their environment, you might notice a pattern. Many of them have their own solutions to the problem, and most of them involve dirt. Pigs and rhinos roll in the mud; elephants do that or use their trunks to throw dirt on their backs. Hippos can’t really stay muddy when they’re in the water, so their skin secretes a reddish pigment that stains it and forms a natural sunscreen.

Obviously, animals that didn’t evolve to be hairless on their own, like Sphinx cats, don’t have those natural habits or defense mechanisms. But at least they have humans to help them put on sunscreen.

Elephants are completely exposed to the sun in one of the most hostile environments in the world. They have almost no visible body hair. And yet they have a very, very low rate of skin cancer. This is because they have extra copies of the cancer-fighting genes P53. These genes are what activate the policing of their cells, the removal of cancerous cells that could replicate and kill the animal. P53 literally is a hunter-killer for cells that cause tumors in the body. It senses, and then deletes that cancer from an elephant's body. This is one, of a few reasons, that elephants are one of the longest living animals in the animal kingdom, capable of living 70 years. And as an aside, the reason their memories are so good? They migrate often and memorize all the best water spots. Dehydration is one of the biggest threats to their survival. The elephants who got good at memorizing these spots tended to survive more.

They also;

A) live underground, like naked mole rats.

B) dark skin pigment, like babirusa.

C) live underwater, like whales.

D) throw dust over themselves, like elephants.

E) die of something else long before cancer could be an issue, like most animals.

Cancer is a disease of old age, fundamentally. Animals seldom die of old age. They die of starvation, disease, injury, predation, or a combination of those factors. Interestingly, a good many animals on the list above do live longer than average. Still, cancer is way down the list of sources of mortality for all animals other than dogs, cats, horses, and humans.

Alternatively, they are usually equipped or genetically not prone to skin cancer. I would think either by another pigmentation or type and thickness of the skin. As it is the pigmentation and not the hair that allows darker skin people to stay longer in the sun than non-pigmented (white) people. Also I would think there are other activities that allow hairless animals to avoid excessive sun exposure. They either live in shaded areas or are nocturnal or mainly borrows or underground.

Content created and supplied by: fiveGee (via Opera News )


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