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Evolution may favor laziness, new study finds


Posted on Thursday, 23 August, 2018 | Comment icon 12 comments

A higher metabolic rate is not necessarily a good thing. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Grzegorz Polak
In some species, the key to success may be more about 'survival of the laziest' than 'survival of the fittest'.
In a new study, palaeontologist Luke Strotz from the University of Kansas and his team looked at over 300 species of slugs, snails and molluscs that have existed over the last 5.3 million years.

Intriguingly, it seemed that those with high metabolic rates were ultimately more likely to go extinct than those with lower metabolic rates.

"We found a difference for mollusc species that have gone extinct over the past 5 million years and ones that are still around today," said Strotz.

"Those that have gone extinct tend to have higher metabolic rates than those that are still living. Those that have lower energy maintenance requirements seem more likely to survive than those organisms with higher metabolic rates."

The findings certainly make sense - the more energy an organism requires the more vulnerable it is, especially over the course of millions of years.

"Maybe in the long term the best evolutionary strategy for animals is to be lassitudinous and sluggish - the lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive," said evolutionary biologist Bruce Lieberman.

"Instead of 'survival of the fittest,' maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is 'survival of the laziest' or at least 'survival of the sluggish.'"

Source: Science Alert | Comments (12)

Tags: Evolution, Extinction

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by The Caspian Hare on 23 August, 2018, 12:42
I know a few humans who have adopted this as a survival strategy...
Comment icon #4 Posted by kapow53 on 23 August, 2018, 15:36
Only people are lazy
Comment icon #5 Posted by spartan max2 on 23 August, 2018, 15:42
Yeah, it's more of a click bait title
Comment icon #6 Posted by Essan on 23 August, 2018, 17:11
I am obviously very highly evolved then
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer on 23 August, 2018, 20:00
So is my sister-in-law with my wife a close 2nd! My wife has spurts. Unfortunately she gets them a 2 AM, starts cleaning and wakes me up. Though she did have a spurt this morning for a change.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Avalanche on 23 August, 2018, 21:50
Reading half of this made me lethargic and i had to stop ;-)
Comment icon #9 Posted by Captain Risky on 24 August, 2018, 12:56
I'm so lazy i won't even respond to this.
Comment icon #10 Posted by John Allanson on 24 August, 2018, 18:10
I've been telling people this for years! Every boss I've ever had didn't believe me!! Well... There you go!!
Comment icon #11 Posted by Seti42 on 25 August, 2018, 6:18
It's not "laziness", it's economy of action.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Aardvark-DK on 30 August, 2018, 8:32
Then I am the next 10 steps in the evolution !


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