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Book Chapter

Trajectories of mortality at advanced ages

Vaupel, J. W.

In: Wachter, K. W., Finch, C. E. (Eds.): Between Zeus and the Salmon: The biodemography of longevity, 17-37 (1997)
Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.

ISBN 0-309-05787-6

Abstract

"This chapter summarizes the key research findings that pertain to the trajectory of mortality at advanced ages. The basic finding is that mortality decelerates at older ages. For some species, such as humans, death rates keep on going up with age up to advanced ages but the rate of increase slows down. For other species, such as medflies, death rates reach a plateau and then fall dramatically. Why mortality decelerates at older ages, in all the species for which large, careful studies have been conducted, is a puzzle. The chapter concludes with an explanation of why this is a puzzle and what might be the key to an answer. The research reported here is based on collaborative efforts by scientists from different backgrounds." (EXCERPT)

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