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On Comparative Longevity in Man and the Lower Animals


IN this interesting little essay Mr. Lankester appears to have accumulated most of the facts with which we are at present acquainted, in respect to the duration of life. He defines longevity to be the length of time during which life is exhibited in an individual; but does not, of course, apply the term individual to entire masses proceeding, as in the case of alsinastrum and many polypes, from a process of asexual generation; and he proceeds to point out that there is a longevity belonging to the species, and a longevity characteristic of the individual, and further, that the average longevity of a species never equals its potential longevity, since a thousand accidents happen to destroy individuals at an early period of their lives; he then distinguishes between normal and absolute potential activity, and shows that in man alone do these two nearly coincide.

On Comparative Longevity in Man and the Lower Animals.

By E. Ray Lankester, B.A., Junior Student of Christ Church, Oxford. (London: Macmillan and Co. 1870.)

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POWER, H. On Comparative Longevity in Man and the Lower Animals. Nature 2, 98–99 (1870).

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