International Journalism, Topic “B”

Spanish research study: Cold-blooded animals never age

Turtle aging rates are close to zero.

From the source

Two research studies covering more than 100 species of amphibians and reptiles have revealed that the aging rates of turtles and salamanders are close to zero.

In 2009 researchers from the Spanish National Museum of Natural Sciences visited two ponds in the Guadrama mountain range in central Spain.

They captured all the amphibians, tagged them, and then released them.

Observing thousands of samples for more than 10 years enabled them to estimate how long these animals live and how they age in the wild.

They discovered that their life expectancy is longer than previously thought, and the aging process in some species is extremely slow.

Evolutionary theories about aging predict that all living things weaken and deteriorate with age, which ends in death.

Mammals, the class of animals that have been extensively studied, reach their peak growth when they reach sexual maturity. Once the vital task of ensuring the survival of the species is accomplished, these animals, as well as humans, begin to weaken and the aging process accelerates.

This pattern was thought to be common in the entire animal kingdom, including reptiles and amphibians.

However, this was proven wrong, according to the two studies.

This study confirmed the common belief that turtles live for a long time.

In fact, many species, such as those found in the Galapagos Islands, live beyond 100 years.

However, according to a second study published in the journal Science, the average lifespan of 52 different species of tortoise is 39 years, well below the average of 137 years for the tuatara, an iguana-like reptile that is endemic to New Zealand.

Fernando Colchero, a researcher at the University of Southern Denmark and a co-author of the second study focused on turtles, points out that aging is the result of a process of energy being used when sexual maturity is reached, either to survive or reproduce.

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