How Do Some Animals Make Their Own Sunscreen?
Fish, hippopotamuses, and other animals produce chemicals that protect them from the sun's rays.
On a recent beach trip I forgot to wear sunscreen and was left literally burning with regret.
But many wild animals, from fish to hippos, don’t have to remember to hit the drugstore to be protected from the sun’s powerful rays. (See "Mystery Solved: Why We Sunburn.")
To find out more, Saturday’s Weird Animal Question of the Week is taking author's prerogative to ask "How do animals make their own sunscreen?"
A recent study in the journal eLife found that some fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles have the genes to produce gadusol, a compound that can act as a sunscreen.
"Gadusol absorbs UV radiation, particularly UVB [ultraviolet B], and dissipates it as heat," study leader Taifo Mahmud, a professor