The Third Chimpanzee: the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal - Chapter 7, Why Do We Grow Old and Die? Summary & Analysis

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All animals age and eventually die. All humans age and die as an inevitable and inescapable process of life. Numerous scientific approaches to aging have been proposed and numerous theories have been suggested, but they all fall short of providing a suitable holistic answer to the problem. Instead, the author argues that the life span of humans should be viewed as the result of a series of trade-offs whereby an optimal organism is designed given many constraints. The author derives clues from observing how much energy several species invest in self-repair and concludes that longer-lived species put more energy into self-repair and less energy into reproduction over a given time period, thus optimizing their long-term survival probability.

It is easy to imagine how a human could be maximized in a few...

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