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Perchance to Hibernate

Can we tap a dormant capacity to downshift our metabolism?

By
10:59am, January 23, 2007

This time of year, the wilds of North America are relatively quiet. The black bears that usually patrol the woods seem to have vanished. Many bat species are nowhere to be found, at least not by the causal observer. The same is true of ground squirrels and chipmunks. They are hidden away—hibernating.

Biologists have been intrigued for decades about how animals go dormant during the winter and survive physiological conditions that would kill them at other times of the year. Hibernators spend most of the winter in

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