Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Humans Age At Same Pace As Other Primates, Study Finds

With our clothing, high-rises, technology and more, we humans would seem to be animal kingdom outsiders, existing outside the norm. But despite all our advances, it turns out we age and die at the same rate as other primates.

The finding, published in the latest issue of Science, shows how strong our ties to chimpanzees, gorillas and other primates is and counters the long-held belief that, with our relatively long life spans and access to modern medicine, we age more slowly than other animals.

"We are making a conceptual point that humans are really very much more similar in their aging patterns to other primates than anyone had suspected before," co-author Susan Alberts, a professor of biology at Duke University, told Discovery News.

"Humans have been a bit of an enigma," added project leader Anne Bronikowski. "We live much longer than would be expected based on our body sizes, our morphology, our maturation rates, and our reproduction rates. When comparisons have been made between humans versus lab or domestic animals (such as horses, dogs, rats and mice) humans have had slower rates of aging than these other species."

But no one until now had previously brought together detailed datasets on aging and mortality for multiple wild-living primates, and compared those to data on humans.

Full story here.

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