Live Longer: Live Wild

2012, Nature  -   16 Comments
Ratings: 7.56/10 from 75 users.

In this documentary nature's "golden oldies" reveal new secrets for how to live longer. The animal kingdom has some long lived record breakers. Who holds the title for the oldest species on the planet and has been alive since the last ice age? Is it true that an animal that was discovered by Charles Darwin is still alive today? And if science can triple the lifespan of a fly can it do it for us?

Believe it or not some of it comes down to what we all do naturally - sex. It puts you on the planet and some aging scientists believe it's one of the biggest factors that determines the day you die. At the Institute for Ageing and Health in the UK, Professor Tom Kirkwood, a world's authority on the science of aging is trying to find out why?

The key to understanding the differences in the rate of aging, how long an animal lives, really have a lot to do with how that animal organizes its sex life. So for example if you're a shrew then you're producing lots of babies quite often, because in particular shrews live a very dangerous kind of life and they get eaten by predators very readily. Then you need a body that's geared towards making babies fast.

If you go the other end of the spectrum and imagine you're an elephant your reproduction takes much longer. You have fewer offspring and so you need a body that's not going to age so quickly. Elephants can afford to take their time when it comes to sex because they've evolved a different strategy. They have few natural predators and can live up to 70 years. Their lifespan may be longer but the purpose is the same, to pass on their genes. Sex evolved because of the need to pass genes whereas the body is disposable, but the question is "how long do you have?"

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16 Comments / User Reviews

  1. bhargavkesavan

    Documentary with great info.

  2. Vitt

    hmm... I'm going to finish it but so far it seems like a really clever way to push population control propaganda.

  3. The Inventor City

    I would double my lifetime by cutting out the simple sugars like sucrose, fructose, glucose BUT i would be living like 50% of my capacity!! So i doubled my age but halved my performance!! Don't want that.

  4. Jacek Walker

    Is that living longer dream really so desirable? I mean be careful what you wish for.
    When one's body deteriorates, energy and vitality goes lower, the brain functions slower and less reliable what is the point to prolong live? Looks like it is only the fear of death concealed behind a promoting a longer life.
    Living longer would make sense to me only when maintaing similar qualities of the youth - fit body, surplus of energy etc. Otherwise it would be just a prolonged dying.

  5. Kansas Devil

    The problem with living longer is you also have to suffer fools longer.

    1. Jacek Walker

      If only that... you have to suffer them on the daily basis. ;)

  6. Johntechwriter

    Sloppily made and unconvincing. Unless you enjoy watching stock footage of animals having sex, or are amused by sitar music accompanying a scene with monkeys that come from India, this pseudo-documentary will be of little interest.

  7. 1concept1

    A strong interest in life and its many secrets. Plenty of sex and a doober now and then probably helps?

  8. Paul Gloor

    There is debate over caloric restriction, It apparently does reduce aging effects, but there are centenial groups who regularly feast with their families. The telomere also is debatable. I've heard tell of some critters that seem to never lose telomere length, yet die of old age. Its certainly a confusing mire of factors !

    All this and I didn't hear mention of the sea urchin or the Turritopsis nutricula or dohrnii, an immortal jellyfish.

  9. maule5662h

    Wow! This is a superb video! Go here to see the conflict on what the best nutrition is for herbivore-designed humans: Amazon. com: T. Colin Campbell's review of New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Die...

    1. Paul Gloor

      Humans aren't herbivores, nor designed :P
      I would wager the majority of the benefits obtained from raw and vegetarian diets is from avoiding processed foods and eating fresh.

    2. Suzanne B

      Paul, what makes you think we aren't herbivores? There's actually evidence out there that makes a pretty solid argument that we mainly has to do with the way we are built, including our teeth, our jaw, our intestines, etc. They are all the same as other mammals who are herbivores whereas carnivorous animals have very different teeth, jaws, intestines, etc. Just sayin.

    3. Paul Gloor

      We have all these features in common with omnivores. Our teeth are equally suited to masticating plant as meat but not spectacular at either. Its been demonstrated that flat molars are superior for eating plants. Our digestive system is I'll suited to digesting and extracting energy from plants entirely, notice most herbivores have very large guts and actually still spend most of their time grazing ? There's more if you do your research. We aren't carnivores if that's what you think I'm saying and probably did have herbivoric roots, but meat has been part of our diets for a very very long time and has been suggested as a factor that spurred the evolution of our brains.

      That said, I would like some links for this evidence. I've been hearing about it but haven't come across it myself.

    4. Tom

      Except that meat ingestion is what cause our brains to become large.

  10. Luyang Han

    The expert in the doc completely misses the point. It is not that late reproduction for one individual will lead to longer age for this particular individual, or even not the late reproduction of one generation will magically lead to longer age for this generation. The logic of selection is as follow: if in many generations we only allow late reproduction, those with genetic treats leading to early decay will tend to have less offspring thus gradually such genes are eliminated from the gene pool, while the genes leading to longevity are selected. Over many generations the overall life span of the species then will increase.

    1. Paul Gloor

      Also hinted at is the grandmother scenario, where family units that have long lived members, they can pass on knowledge or otherwise care for the next generations offspring freeing the parents to forage and provide better.