A new study has revealed a new champion non-sleeper -- the African elephant species called Loxodontaafricana.
A team of researchers observed a pair of African elephants for more than a month, and discovered that elephants of the Loxodontaafricana species slept an average of merely for just two hours per night.
They used GPS trackers in addition to an animal Fitbit to measure the elephant’s activity levels. They were surprised to find that that both were polyphasic sleepers, which means they slept in numerous short bouts over a night. But those short naps were few and far between.
At one point, they found that the creatures went a whopping 46 hours without sleeping. During their sleepless periods, they moved long distances of up to 19 miles to escape predators or other possible disturbances in the wild.
Study author Paul Manger from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, said, “Why this occurs, we’re not really sure. Sleep is one of those really unusual mysteries of biology, that along with eating and reproduction, it’s one of the biological imperatives. We must sleep to survive.”
The researchers reported their findings in the most recent edition of the journal PLOS One.