Science & Technology

Volcano-dwelling mice confirmed as world’s highest-living mammals

Conditions on the height of Llullaillaco, 6739 above sea stage, are chilly, dry and hostile – however some mice one way or the other survive there


26 April 2022

Phyllotis vaccarum

A leaf-eared mouse (Phyllotis vaccarum) discovered close to the summit of Llullaillaco

Marcial Quiroga-Carmona

The atmosphere close to the summit of Llullaillaco — a large Andean volcano straddling the border of Argentina and Chile — is hostile to animal life: perpetually frigid, exceptionally dry and oxygen poor. But scientists discovered mice there in 2020, and their newest analysis provides to proof that the tiny rodents may very well make the best reaches of the volcanic peak their residence.

A few years in the past, Jay Storz on the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and Thomas Bowen at California …

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