Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 11:32AM
Drew Wolfe

Survival Of The Sluggish: Scientists Find An Upside To A Low Metabolism

"New research suggests one effective evolutionary strategy: be lazy."

"Species of mollusks that are now extinct had higher metabolic rates than the species that exist today, scientists announced in a paper published this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B."

"Metabolic rates are the amount of energy that organisms need to carry out their daily lives. Luke Strotz, a paleontologist and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Kansas who is lead author of the paper, says that a high basal metabolic rate has already been shown to lead to a higher likelihood of death at the individual level."

"'But that that scales up to the level of the species is probably the big finding of this study,' he tells NPR. 'That you can take something that's happening at the level of all those individuals, scale it up to this level of the species, and see that at the species level higher metabolic rates actually has an influence on the likelihood of that species actually going extinct.'"

"Researchers looked at the metabolic rates of 299 species of mollusks that have lived since the mid-Pliocene era, a span of roughly 5 million years. They specifically analyzed bivalves (clams, mussels) and gastropods (snails, slugs)."


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