As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Why do birds typically live longer than mammals?

MAY 1, 2019

Why do birds typically live longer than mammals? A new paper offers a hint, albeit not a conclusive answer. Assistant Professors of Biology Cynthia Downs and Ana Jimenez at Hamilton College and Colgate University respectively have co-authored a paper with nine students, "Does cellular metabolism from primary fibroblasts and oxidative stress in blood differ between mammals and birds? The (lack-thereof) scaling of oxidative stress" in press with Integrative and Comparative Biology.
The research group focused on testing whether birds and mammals have differential patterns in cellular metabolism as expected because of their difference in whole-animal rates of energy use. They also tested whether birds had higher antioxidant concentrations to ameliorate the higher concentrations of reactive oxygen species. One of their goals was to determine if birds and mammals differ in the amount of damage caused by the balance of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants concentrations (oxidative stress). Because whole-organism rates of energy use also changes in a predictable manner, another goal was to determine if components of oxidative stress changed with body size.

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