Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Longetivity and Survival
Name: Richard F.
Status: Other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
If successful species are established through their ability to survive longer in a certain environment and therefore reproduce for a longer period. Why has longevity not increased drastically?



Replies:
It appears that your question answers itself. Perhaps successful reproduction is not tightly coupled to longevity.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois


It isn't how the individual survives in a population, it's how many offspring he/she leaves behind. Once the individual has reproduced, they are actually just "dead weight" on the population. So it doesn't really make sense evolutionarily to prolong the lifespan of an individual once it has reproduced.

vanhoeck


Reproductive success is not necessarily a direct result of a long life. Many species reproduce prodiguosly in a short life span, others live long but produce fewer offspring. It is not the length of reproductive life that is crucial but the number of surviving offspring.

J. Elliott



Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory