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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
  • Director Sharon Colman Graham
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Composer Peter Gosling

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Why aging rates vary immensely across species is one of the greatest mysteries in biology. While humans are a relatively long-lived species, some animals like mice age 20-30 times faster than us and live only up to 3-4 years. In contrast, some mammals like the bowhead whale are thought to live over 200 years. In the amazing biodiversity of our planet, we can find diverse and fascinating forms of aging. For more details on how animals age, and how some seem to avoid aging, see: Some Animals Age, Others May Not.

Why do different species age at different paces? One important factor is body size with larger animals, on average, living longer than smaller ones. In some species, environmental factors like temperature also influence how long animals live, with a lower body temperature generally being associated with a longer lifespan. Visit this site that contains information and comparisons of animal aging!

In addition, extreme long-lived animals like mole-rats and whales can serve as inspiration for biomedical research. This article: The big, the bad and the ugly: Extreme animals as inspiration for biomedical research.

You can also check out the TEDx talk “Slowing down aging” deals with studying the genetics of long-lived species and future medical applications.