Sorry Darwin Evolution Favors Survival of the Laziest

first_img Finally, some good news for lazy people: A new study suggests apathy might be a beneficial strategy for survival of individuals and species.Analyzing the metabolic rate of 299 fossilized and extant ocean dwellers, researchers at the University of Kansas found that expelling higher amounts of energy puts you on the fast-track to extinction.“We wondered, ‘Could you look at the probability of extinction of a species based on energy uptake by an organism?’” lead study author Luke Strotz, a postdoctoral researcher at KU’s Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, said in a statement.“We found a difference for mollusk species that have gone extinct over the past 5 million years and ones that are still around today,” he continued. “Those that have lower energy maintenance requirements seem more likely to survive than those organisms with higher metabolic rates.”Imagine if each U.S. state were a distinct species: Fast-paced New Yorkers would probably die off long before folks living the slow coastal life in South Carolina.“Maybe in the long term the best evolutionary strategy for animals is to be lassitudinous and sluggish,” Bruce Lieberman, co-author and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, suggested. “The lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive.”I could definitely get used to that idea.“Instead of ‘survival of the fittest,’ maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is ‘survival of the laziest,’ or at least ‘survival of the sluggish,’” Lieberman added.These findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, could help scientists forecast the longevity of different species, particularly in the face of climate change.“In a sense, we’re looking at a potential predictor of extinction probability,” according to Strotz. “At the species level, metabolic rate isn’t the be-all, end-all of extinction—there are a lot of factors at play. But these results say that the metabolic rate of an organism is a component of extinction likelihood.”Especially when the species is confined to a smaller habitat; less so when it is spread over a wide geographic area of the ocean.The theory also applies to communities of species, within which cumulative metabolic rates remain stable, even as individual species breeds appear and disappear.“This was a surprise, as you’d expect the community-level metabolic rate to change as time goes by,” Stotz said. “Instead, the mean energy uptake remains the same over millions of years for these bivalves and gastropods, despite numerous extinctions.”To ensure ample data about living and extinct species, researchers used Western Atlantic mollusks and fossil material from various U.S. collections. Moving forward, the team hopes to understand how the phenomenon relates to other animals.“There’s some justification, given the size of this data set, and the long amount of time it covers, that it’s generalizable,” Strotz said. “But you need to look—can it apply to vertebrates? Can it apply on land?”The lazy shall inherit the Earth. But first, some lackadaisical cosplay. Or have drones deliver your coffee. Maybe just follow Gudetama’s Guide to Laziness to stay atop the evolutionary cycle. Either way, keep up with all the latest research news here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on targetlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *