Which animal has the longest pregnancy?

Wednesday 22nd July 2009
Submitted by Len Fisher
Kerry Bradshaw, Market Weighton

The 22-month gestation period of the African elephant is the longest among the land mammals. But this is far surpassed by the eel-like frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) found off the coasts of South Africa and Chile, which Japanese scientists have shown to have a gestation period that may be as long as 42 months. This could be due to the intense cold of its deep-sea habitat slowing its metabolic processes to a crawl. Other deep-dwelling animals may have similarly extended gestation periods.

Coloured bubbles?
previous qanda Article
Why does polystyrene used for packaging stick to everything?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Like all plants, trees also use oxygen when they split glucose back down to release energy to...

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

Lobsters and other shellfish have harmful bacteria naturally present in their flesh. Once the lobster is dead, these bacteria can rapidly multiply and release toxins that may not be destroyed by...

Astronomer Fred Hoyle was the first to point out that if you could drive a car upwards at 95km/h (60mph), it would only take about an hour to get into space. To get to the Moon would take a little...

Not for long. The gruesome idea of nails and hair continuing to grow on a rotting corpse is fascinating. But it’s a myth – at least if you’re thinking of luscious locks and long...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...