A study reveals why female mammals live longer


According to a new study, female mammals live longer than male mammals. This conclusion was reached after researchers studied the lifespan in wild mammals which showed that females live considerably longer than males.

Researchers stated that on average, females live 18.6% longer than males from the same species. This is much greater than the well-studied difference between men and women, which is around 8%.

Scientists explained the differences in these other mammals caused by several factors such as a combination of sex-specific traits as well as local environmental aspects, as indicated by BBC.

As a reminder, in human population, women live longer than men, nine out of 10 people who live to be 110 years old are female, a pattern that has been consistent since the first accurate birth records became available in the 18th Century.

The same assumption has been held about animal species, however, recently, an international team of researchers has examined age-specific mortality estimates for a widely diverse group of 101 species and new conclusions has been reached.

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In 60% of the analysed populations, the scientists found that females outlived the males, on average, they had a lifespan that’s 18.6% longer than males.

“The magnitude of lifespan and ageing across species is probably an interaction between environmental conditions and sex-specific genetic variations,” said lead author Dr Jean-Francois Lemaître, from the University of Lyon, France.

To be more explicit, he gave the example of bighorn sheep for which the researchers had access to good data on different populations.

Where natural resources were consistently available there was little difference in lifespan. However, in one location where winters were particularly severe, the males lived much shorter lives.

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“Male bighorn sheep use lots of resources towards sexual competition, towards the growth of a large body mass, and they might be more sensitive to environmental conditions,” said Dr Lemaître.

“So clearly the magnitude of the difference in lifespan is due to the interaction of these sex-specific genetics, the fact that males devote more resources towards specific functions compared with females, and to the local environmental conditions.”