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No sex, smaller brains

·1 min

The strangest thing about naked mole rats is not their lack of hair or that they live in underground mazes, but their honeybeelike society. Up to 80% of colony members never reproduce; instead, they dig tunnels, defend the colony, care for the pups, and forage for food. Now, a study shows that parts of these workers’ brains are smaller than those of the queen and the males that mate with her. One such region–associated with aggression, sex, and social interactions–is 17% smaller in the subordinates, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.