TED Conversations

Anuraag Reddy

AIESEC India

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
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Dec 6 2011: If we're approaching this from a human genetic standpoint then you have to consider that genes won't propagate, quickly, to enact change when there isn't a selective pressure. Almost all human genetic changes are going to be of rates unoticeable to us, barely perceptibly above the norm, because of the cultural influences upon sexual health and family life.

    As for aging you have to ask yourself is there really a significance currently to a longer period of sexual activity to your offspring surviving? How is that limited by things like the menopause and old men losing virilence? And does a longer period of sexual activity actually have any real statistically relavent effect upon the average number of children a person has.

    I very much doubt a longer lifespan actually will contribute to the number of children produced in a western community with good sexual health education. A brief observation is that women are making choices about when to have children increasingly closer to the onset of menopause so they can accomplish a greater number of goals in their youth. If you expand the aging process in a means that produces a greater period of youth I can only conclude that women will continue to choose to have children closer to when the threat of not being able to ever have children compels a desire to do so.
    • thumb
      Dec 8 2011: This is another socioeconomic selection trend that is well observed, definitely interesting and something new to this conversation.

      There is also a tendency for son's of rich, successful older men having sons who have better chances of mating themselves.

      Both should definitely be leading to longer lives at least among st humans.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.