Mice in Space!

#1
The always interesting crew at NASA Ames sent a bunch of mice up to the Space Station, watched their behavior in weightlessness and checked their health upon return to Earth.

They were observed behaving pretty much as mice do. They groomed themselves and each other, socialized with each other and appeared to be in good health when they returned to Earth. They hadn't lost weight and their coats were in good shape.

They quickly learned to launch themselves towards where they were going and used their momentum to get there. They would anchor themselves with their tails or hind limbs so they didn't float around when they didn't want to. So all in all, they adapted to weightlessness very well.

One interesting new mouse behavior was observed in weightlessness that hasn't been observed on Earth. The biologists call it "racetracking". The mice would group together and run around the perimeter of their enclosure like it was a big hamster wheel. They don't think that it was a response to stress, since the mice didn't show other physiological indications of stress. They aren't sure why the mice were doing it. Maybe the mice just thought that it was fun.

Watch the NASA video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_conti...yCHUtHZZ0E

Read the description here:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/studyi...crogravity
Reply
#2
Shame there's no sound and we can't hear them (probably) going "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" as they run round the cage.
Reply
#3
(Apr 25, 2019 05:35 AM)Yazata Wrote: One interesting new mouse behavior was observed in weightlessness that hasn't been observed on Earth. The biologists call it "racetracking". The mice would group together and run around the perimeter of their enclosure like it was a big hamster wheel. They don't think that it was a response to stress, since the mice didn't show other physiological indications of stress. They aren't sure why the mice were doing it. Maybe the mice just thought that it was fun.

I think you’re right, it’s fun. Like play, it probably releases feel good chemicals like a runner’s high. A lot of animals do it, even frogs.

Wheel Running in the Wild

Quote:There is still much debate over the question whether wheel running is or is not stereotypic. Stereotypic behaviour itself is characterized by several traits: it is repetitive, invariant and devoid of obvious goal or function; if it consists of natural behavioural elements, these occur at higher rates and for longer durations than found in nature and it is partially or not at all dependent on external stimuli. Even though authors disagree over whether stereotypies reflect bad welfare or a coping strategy that may even increase welfare, they all agree that stereotypic behaviour only occurs in captivity. Wheel running can be considered repetitive, invariant, devoid of obvious goal and function, but it remains reactive to external stimuli, and our results indicate that it is neither restricted to captivity nor occurring for longer durations in captive mice of at least six months old than in free-ranging mice in the field. Therefore, it does not fit well within the definition of stereotypy.

Given that wheel running can occur as a voluntary behaviour, the question remains why animals choose to run in wheels.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9630Is3Rhww
Reply
#4
Aw!! Big Grin Interesting that they didn't show signs of stress. Hmm.
Reply
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Gene switches off colon tumors in mice Magical Realist 0 385 Jul 14, 2015 07:39 PM
Last Post: Magical Realist



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)