An analysis of the relationship between metabolism, developmental schedules, and longevity using phylogenetic independent contrasts

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2007 Feb;62(2):149-60. doi: 10.1093/gerona/62.2.149.


Comparative studies of aging are often difficult to interpret because of the different factors that tend to correlate with longevity. We used the AnAge database to study these factors, particularly metabolism and developmental schedules, previously associated with longevity in vertebrate species. Our results show that, after correcting for body mass and phylogeny, basal metabolic rate does not correlate with longevity in eutherians or birds, although it negatively correlates with marsupial longevity and time to maturity. We confirm the idea that age at maturity is typically proportional to adult life span, and show that mammals that live longer for their body size, such as bats and primates, also tend to have a longer developmental time for their body size. Lastly, postnatal growth rates were negatively correlated with adult life span in mammals but not in birds. Our work provides a detailed view of factors related to species longevity with implications for how comparative studies of aging are interpreted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging*
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism / genetics
  • Body Size*
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Vertebrates / genetics
  • Vertebrates / metabolism*