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Comparing free-ranging and captive populations reveals intra-specific variation in aging rates in large herbivores


Lemaître, Jean-François; Gaillard, Jean-Michel; Lackey, Laurie Bingaman; Clauss, Marcus; Müller, Dennis W H (2013). Comparing free-ranging and captive populations reveals intra-specific variation in aging rates in large herbivores. Experimental Gerontology, 48(2):162-167.

Abstract

Although evidence that survival decreases with age in animal species is compelling, the existence of variation in aging rates across different populations of a given species is still questioned. Here, we compared aging rates of 22 pairs of ruminant species living in captive and free-ranging conditions. Based on the recent suggestion that feeding niche is a key factor influencing aging in captivity, we also investigated whether a species’ natural diet influences the aging rates of captive ruminants relative to their wild conspecifics. We found that aging rate in a given species was higher under free-ranging conditions than in captivity, which provides the first evidence of consistent aging rate variation within species. Additionally, our study clearly demonstrates that differences in aging rates between captive and free-ranging ruminants increased as species were more specialized on grass diets.

Abstract

Although evidence that survival decreases with age in animal species is compelling, the existence of variation in aging rates across different populations of a given species is still questioned. Here, we compared aging rates of 22 pairs of ruminant species living in captive and free-ranging conditions. Based on the recent suggestion that feeding niche is a key factor influencing aging in captivity, we also investigated whether a species’ natural diet influences the aging rates of captive ruminants relative to their wild conspecifics. We found that aging rate in a given species was higher under free-ranging conditions than in captivity, which provides the first evidence of consistent aging rate variation within species. Additionally, our study clearly demonstrates that differences in aging rates between captive and free-ranging ruminants increased as species were more specialized on grass diets.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:19 Mar 2013 16:31
Last Modified:17 Nov 2016 08:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0531-5565
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2012.12.004

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