Meet the axolotl,
a Mexican Salamander that scientists, and the internet alike,
love for their amazing ability to regenerate limbs,
and probably for that derpy smile.
ANIMALOGIC, hosted and illustrated by Danielle Dufault.
嗨 我是丹妮尔·德芙特 你正在观看的是《动物逻辑》
Hi, I’m Danielle Dufault, and you’re watching ANIMALOGIC.
Axolotls are members of the ambystomatidae family,
and they are native to a very small region in Mexico.
Axolotls were revered by Aztecs.
And their capital city was built on islands and the lakes inhabited by the creatures.
But when the Spanish settled in 1521, they drained the lakes,
and built their city in its place, a first step in driving axolotls towards extinction.
As Mexico City continues to grow and pollute,
the axolotl population is pushed further and further towards the brink.
Today, they can only be found in the wild
in Mexico’s Xochimilco Lake complex, near Mexico City.
Axolotls are unique among salamanders, because they are neotenic,
which means that they reach adulthood without going through metamorphosis.
So they retain all of their juvenile features, like us Millennials.
While most salamanders will grow up,
lose their gills in their dorsal fin as they get bigger and emerge onto land,
axolotls will keep their feathery external gills,
and remain underwater permanently.
It is extremely rare, but sometimes axolotls will reach maturity,
and go through metamorphosis.
But even then, they tend to keep to the water.
This has been accomplished in the lab by injecting them with a shot of iodine,
注射之后 它们更像是它们的亲戚 虎螈
after which they more closely resemble their relatives, the tiger salamander.
Axolotls can get pretty big,
measuring around a foot or 30 centimeters long fully grown.
And they have long lives, around 15 years in the wild.
But probably the most interesting thing about them is
their intense ability to regenerate.
Many amphibians do have the ability to regenerate,
but axolotls blow the competition out of the water.
Not only can they perfectly and seemingly, endlessly regenerate limbs,
而且还能再生脊椎 颌 尾 以及皮肤
but they can also regenerate their spinal cord, jaw, tail and skin,
all without scarring.
No matter how many times you cut off their limbs,
they’ll grow back perfectly every single time.
And you wouldn’t even be able to tell that
you would cut off their limbs in the first place.
You could also even cut out a chunk of their spine,
come back in a month and a half,
and there’ll be no worse for wear.
They are also a thousand times more resistant to cancer than any other animal.
It works like this:
After the amputation, the cells at the side of the amputation lose their identity.
So instead of being skin cells or blood cells,
they become similar to stem cells, called pluripotent cells.
And they’re able to make any cell or tissue that
the body would need to repair itself.
In this case, they use the pluripotent cells to generate
all the cells and tissues needed to create new perfect limbs.
This phenomenon is a favorite among the scientific community,
因为它可能帮助烧伤者 被截肢者 甚至癌症患者
for its potential to help burn victims, amputees and even cancer victims.
Scientists have experimented with modifying the genetic makeup of axolotls
to include the green fluorescent protein,
which is the protein that makes many jellyfish bioluminescent.
We’re not just making axolotls look cooler,
the glowing protein allows scientists
to see things inside the axolotls that they couldn’t before.
For example, they’ll tag cancerous cells with the protein,
and then they can actually see how it spreads throughout their bodies.
Even more interesting is that axolotls have plug-and-play body parts.
You can amputate one axolotl’s leg and place it in another axolotl,
and it’ll attach itself.
It’s especially interesting,
because you don’t even need the whole limb, just a few cells.
If you take cells from a neon axolotl,
and place them on an amputated body of an albino axolotl,
the albino axolotl will actually grow a neon limb.
Since their skin is quite translucent, you could actually
watch the neon green bone grow out of an otherwise white axolotl.
This has led to some fairly morally compromising work.
In a study published in Science magazine in 1968,
scientists were able to successfully
transplant an axolotl head onto the back of another axolotl,
one subject lived for 65 weeks after the operation
with second head growing right along with the first head.
What animal should I check out next?
Please let me know in the comments.
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Thanks for watching.