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Name: Doris B.
Status: educator
Age: 60s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1/13/2003


Question:
My students ask: What determines the life span in animals? Is there a correlation between life span and size, diet, habitat?


Replies:
Roughly speaking life span of an organism is an increasing function of its size -- bacteria may only live for a few hours, an insect a few days, and an elephant for years. The relation between size an other features of organisms is very interestingly give in the book "On Growth and Form" by D'Arcy Thompson. Very readable and spell binding.

Vince Calder


Dear Doris,

All of these affect life span / longevity, as well as genetic determinants.

For example,

http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/mammal/ovca/biological_data_and_ habitat_requirements.html

http://www.blue-crab.net/bchist.htm

Also can search www.google.com for life history & ecology.

Sincerely,
Anthony R. Brach


There have been many many studies on all these relationships...they all effect life span. Reduced caloric intake in mammals has consistently shown a positive correlation with increased life span. Size in mammals is more complex and there was a nice article on this a year or so ago in the journal Science if I remember correctly.

Peter Faletra


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