Why do animals have such different lifespans? – Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
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Why do animals have such different lifespans? – Joao Pedro de Magalhaes


For the microscopic lab worm, C. elegans life equates to just
a few short weeks on Earth. Compare that with the tortoise,
which can age to more than 100 years. Mice and rats reach the end of their lives
after just four years, while for the bowhead whale,
Earth’s longest-lived mammal, death can come after 200. Like most living things, the vast majority of animals gradually
degenerate after reaching sexual maturity in the process known as aging. But what does it really mean to age? The drivers behind this process are varied
and complicated, but aging is ultimately
caused by cell death and dysfunction. When we’re young,
we constantly regenerate cells in order to replace dead and dying ones. But as we age, this process slows down. In addition, older cells don’t perform
their functions as well as young ones. That makes our bodies go into a decline, which eventually results
in disease and death. But if that’s consistently true, why the huge variance in aging patterns
and lifespan within the animal kingdom? The answer lies in several factors, including environment and body size. These can place powerful evolutionary
pressures on animals to adapt, which in turn makes the aging process
different across species. Consider the cold depths of the Atlantic
and Arctic Seas, where Greenland sharks can live
to over 400 years, and the Arctic clam known as the quahog
can live up to 500. Perhaps the most impressive of these
ocean-dwelling ancients is the Antarctic glass sponge, which can survive over 10,000 years
in frigid waters. In cold environments like these,
heartbeats and metabolic rates slow down. Researchers theorize that this also
causes a slowing of the aging process. In this way, the environment
shapes longevity. When it comes to size,
it’s often, but not always, the case that larger species have a longer
lifespan than smaller ones. For instance, an elephant or whale
will live much longer than a mouse, rat, or vole, which in turn have years on flies
and worms. Some small animals, like worms and flies, are also limited by the mechanics
of their cell division. They’re mostly made up of cells that can’t
divide and be replaced when damaged, so their bodies expire more quickly. And size is a powerful evolutionary driver
in animals. Smaller creatures are more prone
to predators. A mouse, for instance, can hardly expect
to survive more than a year in the wild. So, it has evolved to grow and reproduce
more rapidly, like an evolutionary defense mechanism
against its shorter lifespan. Larger animals, by contrast, are better
at fending off predators, and so they have the luxury of time
to grow to large sizes and reproduce multiple times
during their lives. Exceptions to the size rule include bats,
birds, moles, and turtles, but in each case, these animals have other
adaptations that allow them to escape predators. But there are still cases where animals
with similar defining features, like size and habitat, age at completely different rates. In these cases, genetic differences, like how each organism’s cells
respond to threats, often account for the discrepancies
in longevity. So it’s the combination
of all these factors playing out to differing degrees
in different animals that explains the variability we see
in the animal kingdom. So what about us? Humans currently have
an average life expectancy of 71 years, meaning that we’re not even close to being
the longest living inhabitants on Earth. But we are very good at increasing
our life expectancy. In the early 1900s, humans only lived
an average of 50 years. Since then, we’ve learned to adapt
by managing many of the factors that cause deaths, like environmental exposure
and nutrition. This, and other increases
in life expectancy make us possibly the only species
on Earth to take control over our natural fate.

100 thoughts on “Why do animals have such different lifespans? – Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

  1. If you want to keep exploring fascinating facts from the animal kingdom, check out this playlist: http://bit.ly/2I7F48x

  2. Because God blessed them with it. Learn of them, what they eat, what they do. It seems like Sea animals live a long life because of the fact their diets are rich in sea food

  3. Comparisons to the early 1990s are very deceptive and generally ploys to inspire faith in our failing healthcare system. Things like infant mortality, life support and so on are not always specified. Millennials were actually the first generation to not be expected to live longer than their parents. Heart disease and cancer rates are up too.

  4. Yeh we took control alright.. and all I can think of is obese americans with mcdonalds in hand yelling at dying migrant children to go home while they tote "pro life" bumper stickers. Yeh. We took control all right. Now its time to be washed away.

  5. Actually nanotech can destroy humanity
    It will reduce the death rate which can cause EXTRAOVERHYPERSUPEDUPER population

  6. Every conscious is different, having some true nature. No two animals of same kind are same.
    Different life span and different species implies how conscious achieves balance between adaption, being static and balanced, handling threats and handling degradation.
    Earth has limited environment, where there are few dominant forces, like gravity heat cold air water, and they are not too extreme. Conscious will definitely react harshly to extreme forces. How conscious walks thin line of intermediate levels of forces, before giving up, can be thought as life on the earth.
    Many conscious will develop natural defense, like animal features. They can even choose to be semi conscious, like animal instinct. Conscious enclosed in humans appear to be real fighters or versatile.
    Consciousness and true nature could be driving force for genes and life, and it could be quantized, returning to the source after death.

  7. If we have already extended our lives does that mean that the future generations will get more years added to them

  8. @Ted-Ed I suggest you to check the subtitle for 1.58 (Turkish). The narrator says ten thousand years instead for a thousand.

  9. The universal law of growth is that almost every mammal gets 1 billion heartbeats in a lifetime (West, Brown, Enquist 1997). That should blow your mind a little.

  10. 4:15 I'm just asking cause I'm curious.. in bd elders think that they themselves and their ancestors if lived peacefully had a longer lifespan. Atleast it wasn't as short as 50y… Is this only for American and European people?

  11. So if you live in cold you live longer? Now I know the answer to why Russians live in Sibirea and in places like Oymiakon

  12. why whales lives more than mice
    well becouse no one eats whales but alot eats mice , i think that makes a scence

  13. Our creator sent every living species to this planet to learn about it and gather information for our next journey, but we humans are forgetting about it and falling into the system of living a slavery life. (Trap) human mind wants to control everything and have no control over itself, now humans are making machines to destroy itself.
    FML

  14. I know this video is years old, but I feel the need to point out that we did not in fact increase our life span over the centuries. Yes, the average human lives longer now due to medicine, but the AVERAGE is important here. The reason out average life expectancy 2 millenia ago was about 30 years old, was a lot of child deaths and diseases killing children. Like most species, our children (and the elderly) are most susceptible to those dangers. Once a certain age is reached, we always had the potential to reach 70 years of age. There were still old people back then, but on average people rarely reached those numbers. I am sure that is what the video was supposed to convey, but it didnt make sure to clear up this misconception of people dying at the age of 30 in the past.

  15. I would rather live as a human for 1 year than be a sponge for 10,000 years. Surviving is not living my friends.

  16. I would also think how much sun exposure creatures have to could play a role. Getting xray'd and UV'd creates cell damage that can't be kept up on.

  17. It's one of the reason why wolverine lived very long because his cells didn't stop regenerating and is is hundred times faster at regenerating that your average human

  18. It depends on the quality of the consciousness in an animal. When it comes to vertebrates, there is a developed breathing system. If a animal is more conscious, its breathe rate is slow and it lives long. Yoga basically makes one more conscious. Hence one's breathe rate reduces and those persons tend to live longer. When I say "quality of consciousness", i mean that it is the capacity to be still and not to be confused with mere logical skill, motor skill and "many other factors".

  19. Time is the stacks of movements(time does not exist actually we're just turning around the sun)
    so if one moves slow(uses less energy), time goes slow. and vice versa.

    in general, the animals who have long lifespan are move slow. and vice versa.

    if you feel boring(you can hardly use your energy), time will go slow. and vice versa.

  20. All this video shows is the "what" of life expectancy. There is nothing about the "why". I was expecting reasons for the length of our lives. What evolutionary benefits are there of our deaths?

  21. Increase in life expectancy for humans is partially inaccurate. It increased because infant mortality decreased

  22. But most of our "more lifespan" spent in a hospital or sick . Sure we lived longer than before but we get sicker longer too of old organ failure

  23. Anyone else wonder if we have a certain number of heart beats in our lifetime on average? I only ask because I knew my grandmother's heart doctor that jogged several times a week and ate healthy etc. He died from a heart attack when he returned home after his morning run. On the other hand you can't be a lazy obese person.

  24. They forgot to mention the real fact of why we age. The reason is because as our cells multiply its creating copies of its self and each copy is not as perfect as its original. So as they keep making copies of copies our cells become more imperfect. This is the reason why we age so dramatically after a certain point

  25. “*a* process called aging”…

    It is not A process.
    It is literally the worst enemy of mankind.
    And stop glorifying it with “golden years”. Old age are bitter years.

  26. I noticed that you don't include humans when you're discussing animals. It's 2019 are we still going to pretend like we aren't animals? So humans are inhabitants and other animals are animals. I see religious ideas have entrenched themselves into society

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