While humans usually have to lather on the SPF to keep their skin safe in summer, a new study reveals that animals are able to create their own sunblock.
Research out of Oregon State University, published on May 12 in the journal “eLife,” has revealed that alligators, chickens and other animals are able to produce a compound called gadusol, which protects them from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Humans and other mammals lack to ability to produce gadusol, but scientists are hopeful that the study of these naturally-sunproof animals could help develop new ways to protect people.
The innate ability to produce gadusol offers a number of evolutionary benefits to animals ranging from green sea turtles to trout. Besides offering UVB protection to keep an animal healthy, gadusol can also serve as an antioxidant and aid in stress response and embryonic development.
The study also found that humans are able to use yeast to make gadusol in large quantities. Armed with this research, scientists believe that can use gadsuol to improve sunscreen, cosmetics, and drugs.
It’s even possible that in lieu of having to rub creams or lotions over exposed skin, humans will one day be able to simply swallow a pill to protect themselves from the sun.