TED Conversations

Anuraag Reddy


This conversation is closed.

Why evolution could never solve aging?

Maybe aging is an essential mechanism to clear out the old and make way for the new like cells within a body?

Maybe every form of life is already close to the upper limit of life expectancy?

Maybe aging is in the nature of carbon based life and metabolism?

Maybe we genetically sacrifice our longevity to survive the stresses of competition.

Emerging Questions:
Is it that our metabolic processes are over-compensated for dominance in their sexual prime which prove detrimental for longevity?

Is it that genes leading to different lifespans are mixed indefinitely in nature that it was never possible to select for it?

Isn't an organism with a longer span of mating at an advantage?

My hypothesis:
In the absence of change in ones environment, or competitive stresses an organism would eventually adapt itself to survive longer.

If every organism is a product of evolution then there must of course be underlying mechanisms within itself to aid such an adaptive process.

Under the influence of adaptive pressure, it would encourage mutation or variations in order create successful variations and also increase the number of life-cycles and so reducing the lifespan.

Under the influence of competitive stress, the dominance would lead to reproductive success and not the span of mating during ones lifespan.

In the absence of change in ones environment leading to adaptive pressure, or competitive stresses from rivals to prove dominance. Species would evolve longer lifespans.

Just a Theory though! But it would predict that

Lifespans of living fossils which have undergone little change in time should be greater than their relatives which have recently evolved.

Life having evolved on geographically isolated places far from intense competitive pressures should have greater lifespans.

Living things higher up in the food-chain or with few natural enemies should have greater lifespans.

Life span in pair bonding species should be higher than tournament species.

Topics: aging evolution

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 25 2011: Why aren't ant's or bee's being researched? They are clearly masters at manipulating age when it comes to queens. I just watch this interesting talk by Deborah Gordon on digs ants and the queen ant live 15 times longer than other normal ants and it's not because of a special DNA. They use the same ant DNA.
    • thumb
      Nov 25 2011: If you mean "average lifespan" is makes sense that queen ant lives longer than the others ants which are more susceptible to disease, get killed, have worst food, work more, etc. all kind of environmental and behavioral factors.

      this is the tedtalk about it: http://www.ted.com/talks/deborah_gordon_digs_ants.html
      • thumb
        Nov 25 2011: I don't think it's just average life spans. As I understand it the queens life longer by default.
        • thumb
          Nov 25 2011: If you meant "Maximum life span" it has to be something related to DNA. From what I understand yes they share a common DNA while they are at a larva stage but the level of care and nourishment the larvae receive will determine their eventual adult form.

          "Analysis of ... new ant genomes suggests that chemical modification of certain sections of DNA could be responsible for the differential development of queens and workers. As an ant larva develops, DNA methylation ... may switch off the genes that control reproductive capacity and wing growth." AND I WOULD ADD IT ALSO SWITCH THE RATE OF AGING.

          SOURCE: -Newly Decoded Ant Genomes Provide Clues On Ant Social Life, Pest Control-
      • thumb
        Nov 27 2011: Well stated comments about the queens there, Adrian. It is what the future 'queen' is fed, in some species that 'grow' her to be a queen in the first place.

        So in 'essence' it is what she eats, the enzymes in the food (and other properties) that affect her genome.

        Also, in regards to human evolution-the topic on this forum question- there are some who theorize that 'food' may have contributed to our own evolution, so I understand.

        Interesting thought, yeah?

        Maybe the related 'humanlike' species who eventually formed us started to consume a new diet that introduced different enzymes, vitamins etc. that helped to shape our own genome?

        Anyway, totally unrelated-unrelated. I think we are all queen bees who can lead or follow-humans that is.

        And food (and other phenomena) is important to not only our own brain function but the shaping of our progeny (ie look up stuff in epi-gentics). Just a thought out there.
    • thumb
      Nov 27 2011: On a related note-There is a jelly fish that has 'infinite' life. Yep. It lives forever if it can keep from disease and being killed. It just renews it's life by "reverting to its polyp state." Yeah, amazing, right? I love jelly fish. This one is really pretty too but there are so many beautiful ones.

      Article about these little guys:

    • Nov 27 2011: A more philosophical approach of queen bees' longevity may yield some interesting findings considering that drones are left to starve after one of them has fecundated the queen -- which reminds us that bees are living in matriarchal societies.

      By analogy, patriarchal societies might feature an exceptionally long-living king male dedicated to churn out "the 'children' born out of the human brain", as explained in my first comment, hinting at the "unchallengeable leadership of the very one who willl be living longest" predicted in the same comment.

      Fortunately, money can be used to virtually extend the remaining life-span by packing more years into it through subcontracting the more time-consuming tasks involved with the bearing and rearing of major inventions, so as to get these tasks done in parallel time.

      Now, since money can help densify your life, the question of how to achieve exceptional longevity becomes that of whoses life deserves being densified. The first answer coming to my mind is that society should stop spreading big money randomly through lotteries, and instead try to get the masses financing the densification of the remaining years of, say, an outstanding elderly inventor... with a sample of his (my) revolutionary aircraft as the jackpot for the winner!

      Yet, alas, if this kind of lottery could get me to sell my invention to, say, Boeing, they'd probably kill it in order to preserve the long-term success of the current assets of the Boeing-organism...

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.