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Survival of the fugitives: Scientists find a low metabolism



New research suggests an effective evolutionary strategy: being lazy.

Species of mollusks now extinct had higher metabolic rates than the species existing today, scientists announced in a paper published this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B .

Metabolic rates are the amounts of energy that organisms need to live their daily lives. Luke Strotz, paleontologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Kansas, who authored the study, says that high basal metabolic rates have already resulted in a higher mortality rate at the individual level.

"But that which rises to the level of the species is probably the great result of this study," he says NPR. "That something that happens at the level of all these individuals can scale up to this level of species, and that at the species level, higher metabolic rates actually have an impact on the likelihood that this species will actually die out."

Researchers investigated the metabolic rates of 299 mollusc species living since the middle of the Pliocene, a period of about 5 million years. They specifically analyzed clams (clams, clams) and snails (snails, snails).

How do you calculate the metabolism of an extinct scallop? Partly by measuring its shell ̵

1; and there are many mollusc fossils out there that make it ideal for this project.

"Molluscs have extremely long fossil recordings," says Strotz. "They go back almost to the beginnings of animal life."

He says earlier research has shown that extinction is associated with things like the area of ​​a species, the size of a species's population, or how the different species are related to each other. Populations of one species are related to each other.

"We did not really conclude that there was a physiological component to the likelihood of species extinction" until this work, Strotz says, although he considers the results only mollusks

He hopes the research of To expand teams to other species such as vertebrates. Until then, unfortunately, we can not draw any conclusions about the survival of certain couch organisms.

Copyright NPR 2018.


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