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Some species live for a very long time, others more fleeting. Animals like elephants, whales and tortoises are comparatively long lived and in the plant kingdom bristlecone pines have life spans of around 5,000 years. At the other end of the scale, creatures such as the mayfly or annual plants live for just a day or a year. Underlying these life span estimates are the demographic trajectories of mortality and fertility that respectively capture the changing probability of death and number of offspring produced, with age. The evolutionary theories of ageing suggest that senescence, a decline in fertility or an increase in mortality risk with age, is inevitable. Is it really? I will explore demographic data from the animal and plant kingdoms to question the inevitability of senescence and to highlight the need to examine a broad taxonomic range in order to understand the evolution of demographic traits.
Invited seminar at the University of Swansea Biosciences Department.
8. maj 2014
Exploring the landscape of ageing and lifespan across the tree of life