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Good night, Sloth

Lab tests of animal sleep may have been too cushy or boring

5:46pm, May 13, 2008

Sloths aren’t as slothful when tested for sleep in their rainforest trees instead of in the lab.

Brown-throated three-toed sloths living in rainforest trees slept at least six hours less than the 16 hours a day previously recorded for sloths in a lab, says Niels Rattenborg of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany.

To clock sloth sleep, Rattenborg and his colleagues took advantage of a new, battery-operated, miniaturized EEG and EMG recorder weighing only 11 grams. Small enough for animals to wear, the device allows monitoring of electrical impulses from the brain, but in the wild. “This is the first step out of the

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