Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Age (Dordr). 2013 Jun;35(3):921-7. doi: 10.1007/s11357-011-9380-8. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Diet mediates the relationship between longevity and reproduction in mammals.

Author information

1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia. shawn.wilder@sydney.edu.au

Abstract

The disposable soma hypothesis posits a negative correlation between longevity and reproduction, presumably because these aspects of fitness compete for a limited pool of nutrients. However, diet, which varies widely among animals, could affect the availability of key nutrients required for both reproduction and longevity, especially protein. We used a comparative database of mammal life history data to test the hypothesis that carnivores experience less of a negative relationship between reproduction and longevity than herbivores. Annual reproduction and adult mass were significant predictors of longevity among all mammals; although, the relative importance of reproduction and mass for explaining longevity varied among trophic levels. In herbivores, reproduction was a stronger predictor of longevity than mass. Carnivores showed the opposite pattern with reproduction explaining much less of the variation in longevity. Omnivores showed an intermediate pattern with mass and reproduction explaining similar amounts of variation in longevity. In addition, longevity and reproduction were significantly higher in omnivores than herbivores and carnivores, which were not different from each other. Higher dietary protein at higher trophic levels may allow mammals to avoid potential conflicts between reproduction and longevity. However, there may be potential costs of carnivorous diets that limit the overall performance of carnivores and explain the peak in reproduction and longevity for omnivores.

PMID:
22237559
PMCID:
PMC3636383
DOI:
10.1007/s11357-011-9380-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center