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COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Diversity of ageing across the tree of life

From Complex Time
Category
General Reference
author-supplied keywords
keywords
authors
Owen R. Jones
Alexander Scheuerlein
Roberto Salguero-Gómez
Carlo Giovanni Camarda
Ralf Schaible
Brenda B. Casper
Johan P. Dahlgren
Johan Ehrlén
María B. García
Eric S. Menges
Pedro F. Quintana-Ascencio
Hal Caswell
Annette Baudisch
James W. Vaupel
title
Diversity of ageing across the tree of life
type
journal
year
2014
source
Nature
pages
169-173
volume
505
issue
7482

Abstract

Evolution drives, and is driven by, demography. A genotype moulds its phenotype’s age patterns of mortality and fertility in an environment; these two patterns in turn determine the genotype’s fitness in that environment. Hence, to understand the evolution of ageing, age patterns of mortality and reproduction need to be compared for species across the tree of life. However, few studies have done so and only for a limited range of taxa. Here we contrast standardized patterns over age for 11 mammals, 12 other vertebrates, 10 invertebrates, 12 vascular plants and a green alga. Although it has been predicted that evolution should inevitably lead to increasing mortality and declining fertility with age after maturity, there is great variation among these species, including increasing, constant, decreasing, humped and bowed trajectories for both long- and short-lived species. This diversity challenges theoreticians to develop broader perspectives on the evolution of ageing and empiricists to study the demography of more species.

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Identifiers

  • doi: 10.1038/nature12789 (Google search)
  • issn: 00280836
  • sgr: 84892367491
  • scopus: 2-s2.0-84892367491
  • pui: 52908197

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