Image: Traveler100 CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
As winter approaches bears are heading into hibernation. Bears have developed adaptations to that allow them to be immobile for 5-7 months without getting sick. The polar bear is one species that is being studied for this reason. During hibernation polar bears to not develop weaker bones, if a human was mobile that long we would lose at least a third of our bone mass. Substances found in polar bears blood prevent tissue loss. Which may lead to a treatment for osteoporosis. Scientists studying polar bears in the winter during hibernation have the opportunity to develop treatment for other human diseases such as kidney failure and diabetes. This is just one example of the huge role biodiversity plays in our own medical development. With your WyoBio Minute I am Sara Kirkpatrick.
Image: NPS photo by Neal Herbert