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Author Topic: Does hibernation increase lifespan?  (Read 1237 times)

Offline thedoc

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Does hibernation increase lifespan?
« on: 06/06/2014 11:30:01 »
James Dyer asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I've heard that small animals live shorter lives because of faster metabolisms. Hibernation dramatically slows an animals metabolism. Do animals that hibernate live significantly longer than animals of similar size that do not?


Thanks,
James Dyer



What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/06/2014 11:30:01 by _system »


 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Does hibernation increase lifespan?
« Reply #1 on: 08/06/2014 09:29:34 »
In an environment where there is no accessible food during the winter months, animals that hibernate will live significantly longer than animals of similar size that do not!  [8D]
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Does hibernation increase lifespan?
« Reply #2 on: 08/06/2014 20:49:49 »
It may depend on the species. 

There are wood frogs and siberian salamanders that can essentially freeze, or perhaps come very close to freezing, and can potentially endure for years. 

There was a recent post about a fly trapped in a window screen that may have survived several times longer than the expected lifetime of a fly, assuming it was actually the same one.

Winters can be hard on many animals.  No doubt that the low metabolic rate during a winter could somewhat prolong a life, but there are many other factors determining lifespan. Why does a dog typically live for 10-15 years, but a human lives for 60 to 90 years?
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Does hibernation increase lifespan?
« Reply #3 on: 09/06/2014 10:13:23 »
As Clifford pointed out, there's more to it than just size/weight when it comes to lifespan in any animal.

Bears give a good idea on this matter. The Polar bear is the largest, yet it will be outlived by the Grizzly bear. Both are hibernators. The chances are that the much smaller Sun bear (not a hibernator) will live around the same length as the Polar bear.

The metabolism of these bears will be considerably slower than that of a Sparrow, yet the Sparrow may outlive all bear species. Sparrows, of course, do not hibernate.

Tortoises are well known for their longevity, but not all species hibernate. The small Mediterranean species, the Hermann, is a hibernator and will live for 60 - 80yrs, the larger  Mediterranean Spur Thigh may live 100 - 120yrs, with Timothy having lived some 160 -165yrs.

Slightly larger than the Mediterranean Spur Thigh, the Red Foot, a non hibernating species, has a lifespan of around 50 - 60yrs and the Indian Star, roughly the same size as the Spur Thigh and another non-hibernator 80yrs.

Then there are the Giant tortoises. (In order of size from largest) The Galapagos tortoises, the Aldabra, the African Spur and Leopard. None of these are hibernators. These tortoises will live in excess of 100yrs, but it is the Aldabra which appears to be longest lived of them all, with Adwaita possibly being up to 256yrs.

But just to throw a spanner in the works here, though these giant tortoises do not hibernate, both the African Spur and Leopard may estivate
 

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Re: Does hibernation increase lifespan?
« Reply #3 on: 09/06/2014 10:13:23 »

 

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