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Dr Faulkes explains: "They behave like the mammalian equivalent of a social insect - they have many, many similarities with bees, ants, wasps and termites." Throw in on top of this the fact that naked mole rats also live for an unfeasibly long time for a small rodent - 30 years in captivity - and that they also seem to be resistant to cancer, so it is easy to see why scientists are so interested in them.
Dr Faulkes says: "Although it might seem a bit of a stretch of the imagination to go from a naked mole rat to humans, the underlying biology is very, very similar. "And they are just so unusual and there are so many aspects of their biology that are extreme that they could help us to extend our knowledge across so many species and disciplines."