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Researchers: Some life forms don’t grow old or lose fertility, challenging an assumption about evolution

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Pond hydra is long-lived?

From Nature,

Guppies and water fleas live only days or weeks, but their mortality increases sharply with age, as is the case in longer-lived animals such as humans. But other animals — such as the hermit crab, the red abalone and the hydra, a microscopic freshwater animal that can live centuries — buck that trend, enjoying near constant levels of fertility and mortality.

A comparison of standardized demographic patterns across 46 species, published today in Nature, suggests that the vast diversity of ‘ageing strategies’ among them challenges the notion that evolution inevitably leads to senescence, or deterioration of mortality and fertility, with age, says Owen Jones, a biologist at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, who led the study.

The authors suggest that the diversity of ageing strategies across the spectrum should challenge theoreticians. “The [evolutionary] theories we have are applicable in lots of situations — but they can’t explain some cases,” says Jones. “It’s not about throwing out old theories; it’s about modifying theories to work on all species.”

Critics reacted defensively, of course. What’s obvious is that we don’t know nearly enough to make “laws” that work for all species Remember, we can’t even We can’t even define life.

Pond hydra is long-lived? Yes, very.

One Reply to “Researchers: Some life forms don’t grow old or lose fertility, challenging an assumption about evolution

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related: Microbes deep in the earth’s crust are suprisingly similar all over the world:
    Collecting Census Data On Microbial Denizens of Hardened Rocks Dec. 9, 2013
    Excerpt: What they’re finding is that, even miles deep and halfway across the globe, many of these (microbial)communities are somehow quite similar.
    The results,,, suggest that these communities may be connected,,,,
    he said. “we’re seeing the same types of organisms everywhere we look.”
    Schrenk leads a team,, studying samples from deep underground in California, Finland and from mine shafts in South Africa. The scientists also collect microbes from the deepest hydrothermal vents in the Caribbean Ocean.
    “It’s easy to understand how birds or fish might be similar oceans apart,” Schrenk said. “But it challenges the imagination to think of nearly identical microbes 16,000 kilometers apart from each other in the cracks of hard rock at extreme depths, pressures and temperatures.”
    “Integrating this region into existing models of global biogeochemistry and gaining better understanding into how deep rock-hosted organisms contribute or mitigate greenhouse gases (and toxic metals) could help us unlock puzzles surrounding modern-day Earth, ancient Earth,,,

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