Do Equids Live longer than Grazing Bovids?

Morgane Tidière*, Patrick Duncan, Jean-François Lemaître, Jean-Michel Gaillard, Laurie Bingaman Lackey, Dennis W.H. Müller, Marcus Clauss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A large part of the diversity of longevity and actuarial senescence (i.e., the progressive decline of survival proba- bilities with age) across vertebrates can be related to body size, phylogeny, and the species’ position on the slow-fast continuum of life histories. However, differences in mortality patterns between ecologically similar species, such as bovids and equids, remain poorly understood. Equids are commonly understood to outlive bovid species relative to their body mass, despite very similar feeding niches. Comparing survival patterns of 13 bovid and ten equid sub- species, our findings confirm that equids outlive bovid species, with a higher adult survival rate and a delayed onset of senescence for equids, but no difference of rate of actuarial senescence. These differences are associated with a slower generation time and longer inter-birth interval, due to a longer gestation period, for equids compared to bovids. Finally, our results suggest that all biological times (i.e., all life history traits expressed in time units) have evolved synchronously in bovids, whereas in equids gestation time and inter-birth interval either were never in synchrony with, or have slowed down relative to other biological times. Our findings suggest the existence of different selection pressures, or different constraints, on specific time-related traits between these two mammalian families.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mammalian Evolution
Pages (from-to)809-816
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Actuarial senescence
  • Biological times
  • Demography
  • Pace of life
  • Slow-fast continuum


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