After just an hour or so without oxygen, your heart develops permanent damage. Shortly afterward, it stops beating entirely. Not so with the resilient hagfish, a slimy eel-like creature that feeds on dead marine animals that fall to the ocean floor. In fact, the hagfish’s heart continues beating and supporting normal activity for up 36 hours without any oxygen at all. What scientists haven’t understood is how or why.
In Print: August 1, 2019