Joao Pedro's Theory of Aging

Technotranscendence (
Tue, 6 Jan 1998 19:39:02 -0500 (EST)

At 10:19 PM 1/6/98 -0800, Joao Pedro <>
>> >My theory is that some species never aged (in a evolutionary scale)
>> >while others started to show signs of aging and then "evolved" towards
>> >non-aging species (they evolved because they were close to the top of
>> >the food chain or had other kind of non-hazardous lifestyle where there
>> >is evolutionary preassure against aging). We, in turn, become so complex
>> >that errors in our more advanced functions are more likely to occur.
>> >Aging is caused by this errors and the ones mentioned ahead.
>> Sounds unlikely, but what is the evidence for your theory?
>My first evidence is that our ancestrals did not age (bacteria don't age
>and most of the non-aging species are quite primitive in an evolutionary

OK. I'd have to agree given what I know. Of course, bacteria do age in a
sense, but their generations are so quick that the issue is one of semantics.
I.e., they do not age as we do.

>If aging "evolved", it can be caused by two types of errors: (1)
>old processes that started to fail; or (2) new processes that are not
>perfect yet.

The second implies a telos, which is okay by me, but should be pointed out

>About the evolution of aging species towards non-aging species, the
>question might be asked of weather these species suppressed aging or
>their evolutionary "relatives" in more hazardous positions evolved

Good way of framing it. It's the polar bear question all over. (Are polar
bears descended from a white bearlike ancestor or a nonwhite one?
Most would assume the latter, though without any evidence, either might
be the case. The case comes from _Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior_
by Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A McLennan (1991).)

>I think it can go either way, the best evidence I have supporting
>the first option is that there is some evolutionary pressure against
>aging in species who live non-hazardous lives. For example, in mammals,
>the species with the longest life span (ours), is the one with the
>longest maturation time, something that can only be achieved by being on
>top of the food chain.

In some cases, you might be right. I'm not sure about the human one
having to do with ecological niche. Even so, there does seem to be
some evidence that developmental times are sensitive to environ-
mental (boundary) conditions. I read a few years ago of a comparative
studies of possums in the Carolinas. They found that the ones that
live on the coastal islands developed more slowly than the ones that
lived on the mainland. The reason seemed to be that they were less
likely to be run over by a car on the islands.:) (The differences were
in years -- I believe a one versus a three year developmental cycle.)

>Anyway, the best is to read my article about the evolution of aging.
>It's a long and boring (yes, very boring, I intend to change that soon
>by making it smaller) article, the URL (after saying it is boring you
>probably won't be interested but...) is:

I'll take a look.

Daniel Ust