Hibernation can prolong life in yellow-bellied marmot
- Animals that hibernate can live longer than would be expected based on their body size.
- Hibernation is a process by which metabolic activities are suppressed, also called torpor, for long periods and interspersed by short periods of increased metabolism or arousal.
- During hibernation, the torpor-arousal cycle occurs multiple times and it has been speculated that processes regulating the torpor-arousal transition cause aging to halt.
- There is a relationship between metabolic rate and long life; thus, researchers proposed the hibernation-aging hypothesis which states that aging is temporarily halted during hibernation.
- Researchers tested the hibernation-aging hypothesis in a well-studied population of yellow-bellied marmots.
- Yellow-bellied marmot is a large, stout-bodied ground squirrel and also known as the rock chuck 
- Yellow-bellied marmot can hibernate for up to 8 months per year.
- Researchers estimated the epigenetic age of these marmots.
- The result showed a logarithmic curve of epigenetic age with time.
- Initially, epigenetic age increased at a higher rate until the female marmots reached about 2 years old.
- At the age of 2 years, the anti-aging phenomenon begins.
- Epigenetic age increased during the active season while hindered during hibernation.
- Overall, the results described the hibernation-aging hypothesis and may explain the longer lives in yellow-bellied marmots.
Pinho, G.M., Martin, J.G.A., Farrell, C. et al. Hibernation slows epigenetic ageing in yellow-bellied marmots. Nat Ecol Evol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-022-01679-1
 Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffman, R.S. (2005). “Family Sciuridae”. In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 801. ISBN978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC62265494