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

Yes. The blunt end of an egg has an air pocket between the inner and outer shell membranes. This gradually enlarges as the egg loses moisture during storage. Keeping the air pocket at the top...

Your DNA is arranged into chromosomes, which are grouped into 23 pairs. When a sperm cell is manufactured, the father’s genome is split in two, so that each sperm receives one chromosome...

A lunar month is slightly shorter than a calendar month, so every two to three years, there is an extra lunar cycle above the usual 12. This additional moon is called the ‘blue moon’...

It’s long been known that just over-heating, let alone burning, some foods can lead to the formation of compounds linked to cancer. These include heterocyclic amines and so-called polycyclic...

The largest known structure in the Universe is called the ‘Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall’, discovered in November 2013. This object is a galactic filament, a vast group of...

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...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here