Thinking About Ageless Animals

Anne C. takes a look at the very long-lived members of the animal kingdom: "rockfish, turtles, and whales [are] all documented to live 200 years or longer without showing signs of aging ... Of the long-lived animals presently known, some appear to have a built in 'negligible senescence' property. ... This is a very important observation because it clearly indicates that the life of an animal is not necessarily inextricable from a fixed 'expiration date' built into his or her deepest inner workings from the start. So while I do not deny the significance of the many human attempts over the years to garner meaning and poetic substance from reflecting upon the bodily breakdown that tends to eventually kill us all, it is well worth pointing out that some of this philosophizing is at least partially rooted in what appears to be a false belief -- that age-related decline of the sort experienced by humans is 'inevitable' in all members of the animal kingdom, and that our own decline somehow 'connects' us with everything else on Earth."


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