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## The Mathematics of the Lifespan of Species158

skade88 writes "NPR is reporting on a study in which the author claims to have found the formula to predict the average life span of members of a species. It does not apply to specific individuals of that species, only to the average life span of members of the species as a whole. From the article: 'It's hard to believe that creatures as different as jellyfish and cheetahs, daisies and bats, are governed by the same mathematical logic, but size seems to predict lifespan. The formula seems to be nature's way to preserve larger creatures who need time to grow and prosper, and it not only operates in all living things, but even in the cells of living things. It tells animals for example, that there's a universal limit to life, that though they come in different sizes, they have roughly a billion and a half heart beats; elephant hearts beat slowly, hummingbird hearts beat fast, but when your count is up, you are over.'"
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## The Mathematics of the Lifespan of Species

• #### This is not new (Score:5, Informative)

on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:24PM (#42677465)

Isaac Asimov wrote an essay about this a long time ago (in the 1960's IIRC), and I doubt the idea originated with him.

I believe Asimov was talking about 3 billion heartbeats or so as the limit; 1.5 billion heartbeats is only about 60 years for a human, and we tend to live longer than that under good conditions.

• #### Re:This is not new (Score:5, Informative)

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 24, 2013 @12:02AM (#42677673)
True, the essay was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the title was "The Slowly Moving Finger".
• #### Exercise (Score:5, Informative)

on Thursday January 24, 2013 @12:43AM (#42677871)

I came up with a similar theory years ago as an excuse not to exercise, for exercising increases one's heart rate. I concluded that exercise would therefore shorten my life. My girlfriend at the time didn't buy my logic. As a step aerobics instructor and science graduate student, she assured me that exercising only temporarily increases one's heart rate and that people who exercise regularly have slower heart rates during the non-exercising parts of their lives. I hate it when people use my own logic against me.

• #### Re:That's why I don't exercise (Score:5, Informative)

<floyd@just-think-it.com> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @07:36AM (#42679151) Homepage Journal
• #### 120 years till the flood (Score:4, Informative)

<tepples@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @10:19AM (#42680279) Homepage Journal

We have a much more accurate value than Asimov's in Genesis 6:3

"After that Jehovah said: 'My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.'" (Genesis 6:3, NWT) That verse could be referring to the fact that God was about to flood the inhabited parts of Earth 120 years later [answersingenesis.org] to wipe away the interference of the Nephilim, right after Lamech and Methuselah were about to die. Noah was born when Lamech was 182, Methuselah died when Lamech was 782, and Lamech died at 777. (Genesis 5:25-31) So both Methuselah and Lamech died fairly shortly before Noah turned 600 and the flood came. (Genesis 7:6) The parallel view of Genesis 6:3 [bible.cc] suggests that the authors of some paraphrase translations, such as the New Living Translation, didn't consider this possibility, even despite Abraham's over 170-year life.--Genesis 25:7.

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