What Determines Life Span?
Name: Doris B.
My students ask: What determines the life span in animals?
Is there a correlation between life span and size, diet, habitat?
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.
All of these affect life span / longevity, as well as genetic
Also can search www.google.com for life history & ecology.
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.
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Update: June 2012