A research of over 300 species of mollusks that have existed and perished in the Atlantic over the past five million years have concluded that species with high metabolic rate were most likely to be extinct.
Keeping the scientific findings apart, the results prove to be a spot-on witticism for those who are chewed out for not pulling their weight. Being lazy is a victorious strategy to delay the species from going the way of the dodo.
That at least is one elucidation. Scientists who have studied around 300 forms of mollusk that have existed and perished over the past five million years discovered that a high metabolic rate foretold which species have gone the way of horse and buggy.
The sea slugs, scallops, sea snails, and mussels which burned the most energy in their day-to-day lives were more prone to early extinction than their less energetic cousins, particularly those living in small ocean habitats, the researchers found.
The research traces a fresh nexus between the length of time the species has on Earth and the rate at which animals use energy to grow and maintain their body tissues. However, the causes of extinction remain to be varied and complex.
Bruce Lieberman, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who led the research at Kansas University said, “The lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive. Instead of ‘survival of the fittest’, maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is ‘survival of the laziest’, or at least ‘survival of the sluggish’.” As an alternative of “survival of the fittest”, perhaps a better metaphor for the history of life is “survival of the laziest”, or at least “survival of the sluggish.”
The scientists studied 299 species of gastropods, such as slugs and snails, and bivalves, counting scallops and mussels, that inhabited the Western Atlantic Ocean any time from the present day to the Pliocene epoch, that is more than five million years ago.
When the researchers assessed resting metabolic rates for each species, they observed that metabolic rate contrasted distinctly for 178 species that had perished with those that continue to exist today. The findings are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Lieberman further elaborated, “The probable explanation is that things that were more sluggish or lazy had lower energy or food requirements and thus could make do with little when times were bad.”
The findings could aid conservationists to forecast precisely which species are to be expected to perish out first as global warming thwarts food production. The next step, however, is to determine the role of metabolism in the extinction rates of animals that live on land as well as the other animals.
Lieberman further added, “This result doesn’t necessarily mean that lazy people are the fittest, because alas sometimes those lazy people are the ones that consume the most resources. “Humanity’s laziness, when it comes to trying to arrest the changes to the planet we are causing, maybe the biggest peril our own species faces.”
“But in a nutshell, our work indicates that being sluggish can make you more likely to survive. So, here’s to a nap, after we solve our planet’s environmental crisis.”