Inevitable aging? Contributions to evolutionary-demographic theory

Baudisch, A.
TitleDemographic research monographs 04
XX, 170 pages. Berlin [et al.], Springer (2008)
Open Access


Aging is inevitable: this is gerontological dogma. And humans do inevitably grow old, which is probably why it seems so unlikely to us that other forms of life could escape aging. Escaping aging is not escaping death. Death is an inherent part of life, and it can strike any time. But the question is, whether death necessarily becomes more likely as life proceeds. And it does not. The theoretical results in this monograph indicate that life provides alternative strategies. While some organisms will deteriorate over adult ages, for others mortality appears to fall or remain constant, at least over an extended period of life after reproductive maturity. This is empirically observed especially for several species that keep on growing during adult ages. Perhaps, the diversity of aging matches the diversity of life. My thesis, the central insight of this monograph, is: to deeply understand why some species age it is necessary to understand why other species do not.

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List of Figures

List of Tables

1 Introduction

Part I Hamilton

2 Hamilton´s Indicators of the Force of Selection

3 Further Challenges

Part II Optimization Models

4 Optimization Models Based on Size

5 An Optimization Model Based on Vitality

6 Directions for Research

Vitality Model - Appendix



The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.