X-Message-Number: 24744
From: "Basie" <>
Subject: Non-Aging Species
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 2004 19:23:11 -0400

Non-Aging Species

As shown in chapter 1, some sturgeon, some rockfish, and some turtles have
extremely long maximum recorded life spans (in excess of 140 years). (In
some animals, age of a captured specimen can be determined from annual
rings, similar to tree rings, which form in scales or certain bones.) These
animals grow slowly and take a long time to reach sexual maturity so their
long lives fit traditional theories of aging.

  However, these animals apparently do not age. Scientists disagree on
whether they do not age or age very slowly but functionally these animals
having "negligible senescence" do not appear to deteriorate as they get
older. (An animal such as a rockfish, caught in the wild at age 140,
presumably had not been significantly weakened by age. If it had been, it
would have succumbed to predators.) These animals have little or no observed
increase in mortality rate with age. Older specimens are not more
susceptible to disease. Older animals do not display a reduction in
reproductive capacity or vigor. (In some cases, claims have been made that
reproductive capacity (as might be indicated by number of eggs produced)
actually increases with age.) These animals do not appear to display any
decline in strength or agility with age.

Non-aging animals still die from predator attack, warfare, accident,
disease, inability to obtain food, and environmental conditions but the
probability of such death is not a function of age beyond full maturity.
Infant mortality and death of immature specimens are probably similar for
aging and non-aging species.

Since there are only a few non-aging species amid many fairly similar aging
species, the non-aging animals must be descendents of aging species. They
appear to have lost the ability to age.

Non-aging animals present an enormous research opportunity. We should be
able to identify genes and associated processes and mechanisms that are
unique to the aging animals or unique to non-aging animals.

References will only be given on request

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