Sunday, January 15, 2006

life span

The term life span refers to the biological limit of life for a species, which, in the case of humans, is about 115 to 120 years. Contrary to what many people think, animals like parrots, elephants, and tortoises do not have longer life spans than humans. On the contrary, human beings seem to have the longest life span of any vertebrate, (any creature with a spine, whether mammal, reptile, fish, amphibian, or bird). Interesting examples of the life spans of some vertebrates appear in an article found in Handbook of the Biology of Aging, a major reference source in the field of gerontology. A sampling of these is as follows:

Kirkwood, T. B. L. "Comparative and Evolutionary Aspects of Anatomy," in Handbook of the Biology of Aging, 2nd ed, Finch, C. E., and Schneider, E. L., eds. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1985.

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