Chapter

Aging Stops: Late Life, Evolutionary Biology, and Gerontology

Laurence D. Muller

in Does Aging Stop?

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199754229
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754229.003.0012
Aging Stops: Late Life, Evolutionary Biology, and Gerontology

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Biologists have assumed since Aristotle that aging proceeds progressively and unrelentingly until all organisms in a cohort are dead. This has further given rise to the widespread view that the underlying physiology of aging is one of cumulative damage and disharmony. With the demonstration that later adult life commonly does not have such features, the entire field of aging research now must be re-cast, both with respect to its characteristic physiological hypotheses and with respect to its relationship to evolutionary biology. Aging is the age-specific de-tuning of adaptation, not a cumulative physiological process. There is no scientific cogency to gerontology except as a branch of evolutionary biology, specifically Hamiltonian demography.

Keywords: Hamiltonian demography; physiology of aging; evolutionary biology; gerontology; adaptation

Chapter.  4321 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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