A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates female wild mammals live longer than their male counterparts. That may not be that much of a surprise but was is surprising is by how much.
A team of international researchers examined 101 different species and found females live an average of 18.6 percent longer than males. They cited one particular species that lives in the Mountain West of the United States as an example.
“Male bighorn sheep use lots of resources towards sexual competition, towards the growth of a large body mass, and they might be more sensitive to environmental conditions,” Dr. Jean-Francois Lemaître, lead researcher from the University of Lyon, France, told BBC News. “So clearly the magnitude of the difference in lifespan is due to the interaction of these sex-specific genetics, the fact that males devote more resources towards specific functions compared with females, and to the local environmental conditions.”
By way of comparison, the World Health Organization maintains women live an average of five and a half years longer than men.
(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)