[extropy-chat] Bowhead Whales May be the World's Oldest Mammals

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 04:51:51 UTC 2007

On 3/28/07, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:

Do marine and aerial critters suffer to the same extent as land
> beasties from infection by microorganisms? I know nothing at all
> about this, but it occurs to me that disease vectors might be far
> more ubiquitous in oceans, since there'd be fewer "natural barriers"
> such as mountains and other land interruptions to easy migration. I
> wonder if whales that spend their lives moving vast distances north
> and south might have already developed early immunity to many
> diseases that might clobber more territorial and hence immuno-naive
> animals. Or am I talking through my hat?

There are two types of longevity: that which seems to be genetically
programmed and that affected by accidents and infectious diseases. Average
life span in humans in poorer countries is shorter than in wealthier
countries due to a higher prevalence of and greater susceptibility to
infectious disease, but maximum life span is not that different. The
degenerative diseases of aging are not generally thought to be due to
infectious agents.

Stathis Papaioannou
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