Evolutionary biologists have long predicted that natural selection should favour extending the lifespan of animals that live relatively safe lifestyles.
In fact, birds and bats, whose ability to fly helps them escape from predators, do have particularly long lives.
Like fliers, tree-dwelling mammals can easily escape many predators.
According to a report in New Scientist, to see if this might also help them live longer, biological anthropologists Milena Shattuck and Scott Williams at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gathered data on the lifespans of 776 species representing all the major groups of mammals.
They discovered that the maximum lifespans of tree-dwellers were almost twice those of terrestrial species of similar sizes.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Another Prediction of Evolution Confirmed