Jun 9, 2019

Long-lived bats could hold secrets to mammal longevity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

University of Maryland researchers analyzed an evolutionary tree reconstructed from the DNA of a majority of known bat species and found four bat lineages that exhibit extreme longevity. They also identified, for the first time, two life history features that predict extended life spans in bats.

Their work is described in a research paper, published in the April 10, 2019 issue of the journal Biology Letters, which concluded that horseshoe bats, long-eared bats, the common vampire bat and at least one lineage of mouse-eared bats all live at least four times longer than other, similarly sized mammals. The researchers also found that a high-latitude home range and larger males than females can be used to predict a given bat species’ life span.

“Scientists are very interested in finding closely related species in which one is long lived and one is short lived, because it implies that there has been some recent change to allow one species to live longer,” said Gerald Wilkinson, a biology professor at UMD and lead author of the paper. “This study provides multiple cases of closely related species with varying longevity, which gives us many opportunities to make comparisons and look for some underlying mechanism that would allow some species to live so long.”

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