Evolution: A Surprising Advantage of Being Lazy

Evolution: A Surprising Advantage of Being Lazy

Contrary to what most of the people believe in, being lazy might not be a bad thing after all. A recent study seems to prove that in some instances, evolution favors animals that are lazy, allowing them to pass on their genes to the next generations.

Being busy could be not that good after all

According to the research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the metabolic rates play a huge role in the survival of at least some species. It looks like being busy could actually lead to extinction.

Higher metabolic rates can lead the extinction

In their research, the scientists analyzed some 300 value species that lived between now and 5 million years ago. Once they gathered all the necessary data, they compared the metabolic rates of animals with their survival status. The results of this study were clear – the more active creatures have a higher chance of going extinct.

The less energy needed the better

Luke Strotz, the lead author of the study and researcher at the University of Kansas, illustrates their findings using mollusk species as an example. Those with lower metabolic rates are still alive today, while those with higher rates became extinct. The easiest way to explain why this happens is by looking at the species’ energy requirements and the environment it lives in. An animal that expends less energy will usually live longer than the one that requires a lot of energy, when they are both in the same environment.

It is not true for Homo erectus

As it was mentioned before, this rule does not apply to all species. For example, in case of Homo erectus, the laziness had deadly consequences. One group of these human ancestors did not respond fast enough to the changing environment, especially with the development of new tools and searching for new habitats, so they were not equipped to cope with different conditions and became extinct.


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