When it comes to getting older, humans aren't so special after all.
It turns out their pattern of aging isn't too different from most other primates, such as chimpanzees, monkeys and baboons, new research shows.
A team led by Anne Bronikowski of Iowa State University studied data on primate aging collected over decades around the world and compared it with statistics on modern Americans. Aging was defined as the increased risk of dying from natural causes while getting older. Some experts have thought that because people have relatively long life spans, humans aged differently from other mammals.
The research team believed that any major difference between humans and primates was most likely to show up with modern people, rather than a hunter-gatherer culture, Bronikowski said in a telephone interview. "And the fact that we don't find a difference there is more compelling."
The basic pattern they found is a relatively high risk of dying in infancy, a low risk of death during the juvenile years and then an increased risk of dying as aging progressed. Also, they found that in most cases males don't live as long as females.