Parents who have too many children live shorter lives, reveals a study conducted by the University of Gothenberg.
In basing these conclusions on studying the aging process in barnacle geese, one of the researchers, Angelina Pauliny said, “This is important, not least for our own species, as we are all having to deal with increased stress. There is a clear correlation between reproduction and aging in the animal world. Take elephants, which have a long lifespan but few offspring, while mice, for example, live for a short time but produce a lot of offspring each time they try.”
The study involved geese that were not only adolescents but also those that were as old as 22 years and in the final stages of their lives. In fact, this species of geese were picked for the study thanks to for living the longest compared to most bird species.
What the researchers uncovered was that there was a direct connection between one’s lifespan and and the length of one’s telomeres, the protective cap around linear chromosomes. The telomeres of every goose in the study was measured twice in the span of two years.
What they also found was that these geese spent more time taking care of their bodily functions instead of reproduction and as a result, lived longer than most species of birds.
Along the same lines, they believe that this applies for humans as well especially if they have to take care of a larger number of children.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that while the male geese were able to preserve the length of their telomeres for a longer period of time, the telomeres of the females shortened rapidly instead.