Archive for February 23rd, 2010

A secret to long life

February 23, 2010

We already know how to live to be over 100, and now scientists have discovered a new longevity trick – living in trees.

It seems tree-dwelling mammals live nearly twice as long as their ground-bound cousins.

Evolutionary biologists have long predicted that natural selection should favour extending the lifespan of animals that live relatively safe lifestyles. And in fact, birds and bats, whose ability to fly helps them escape from predators, do have particularly long lives.

Like fliers, tree-dwelling mammals can easily escape many predators. To see if this might also help them live longer, scientists gathered data on the lifespans of 776 species representing all the major groups of mammals. They discovered that the maximum lifespans of tree-dwellers were almost twice those of terrestrial species of similar sizes. Read more here.