Phenomena

Staying Cool in the Outback

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Daytime temperatures in the Australian outback can soar, creating a harsh environment for life. Red kangaroos use several methods to regulate their body temperature during the hottest part of the day. They shelter under trees to escape the sun, they dig away the solar-heated topsoil and flop down in cooler soil, and they lick their forearms. Like our wrists, kangaroo forearms have a network of blood vessels near the surface. As their saliva evaporates, it cools the skin and the blood vessels beneath it. Humans are cooled the same way when our sweat evaporates, but a more kangaroo-like trick for cooling off is running cold water over your wrists. (Video credit: BBC/Planet Earth)

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