What determines the lifespan of a species? Why do humans have such a long lifespan compared to say a housecat?

Emily Rodriguez Emily Rodriguez Jul 25, 2019 · 2 mins read
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The lifespan of a species, including that of humans or housecats, is determined by several factors such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle. Although there are some general patterns that dictate the entire lifespan, the average lifespan of a species may differ significantly from one geographic location to another due to environmental stresses, disease prevalence, or any other factors that may affect the species.

Researchers hypothesize that the lifespan of a species is primarily influenced by their species’ genes, but environmental factors over time may alter these predictions. Research denotes that large species tend to live longer because they have fewer predators, smaller metabolic rates, and slow reproductive processes. In contrast, smaller species tend to mature faster and offer quicker turnover, making it easier for them to sustain in their environments.

It is noteworthy that the environment has the most significant impact on lifespan, especially environmental cues like food, habitat, and temperature. Wild animals tend to live shorter lives because they are exposed to environmental stressors like competition meaning they must always be alert to predators, which begins at a young age for most species. Habitat destruction also contributes to a shorter lifespan, as it may isolate populations, leaving them small, fragmented, and severely at risk of inbreeding depression.

Lifestyle is another critical factor affecting the lifespan of different species. For example, humans have a longer lifespan because they have relatively safer individual lives and reproductive habits that slow or stop after they have raised their offspring. In addition, humans benefit from advanced medical practices and healthcare systems, which greatly increase their quality of life and, consequently, their long life span.

Therefore, it is evident that environmental factors play a decisive role in determining the lifespan of a species. Even though human longevity is longer than most animals, we are also affected by environmental stressors, such as pollution, toxins, and climate changes. For instance, cancer is more prevalent in industrialized societies, which is suspected of impeding human longevity. With this in mind, it is essential to implement better environmental management practices that are more conducive to extending human life spans through proactive measures to protect the environment.

In conclusion, the lifespan of any species, including that of humans or housecats, is the product of a combination of different factors such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle. It is essential to address environmental stress and occupational and lifestyle risk factors that may lower human life expectancy. While it is difficult to alter genetics, environmental factors can be controlled to ensure that humans will continue to have a long lifespan by establishing healthy ecosystems and sustainable environmental policies.

Emily Rodriguez
Written by Emily Rodriguez
Making waves wherever I go