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Evolution of longevity and senescence in long-lived Asian elephants and humans


Ageing is a central concept in biology and has implications for humanities, social sciences and public health. A few mammals with extreme
longevity, including human women, represent a striking exception to general pattern, ceasing reproduction at age 50 and having a long
post-reproductive lifespan, thus posing the question of whether and why long post-reproductive lifespan in such species has been under
natural selection. I am applying to establish a new innovative project to investigate the evolution of extreme longevity in mammals, by
combining my previous extensive expertise on longevity and senescence in humans with data on an another long-lived mammal with
similar life-history, the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Asian elephants have long lifespan (maximum of 80 years), live in social groups
containing many generations and thus would make a fascinating comparison to humans and the patterns of longevity evolution in animals
in general. My proposed approach is novel, the dataset used unique, and the results are likely to be highly interesting both across different
disciplines of science as well as to the public. I am applying to conduct this study at the top-biological science Dept. in UK (as ranked in
national survey 2009 based on the quality of research), Animal and Plant Sciences (APS) of the University of Sheffield. Working in
Sheffield would allow me: to test my previous findings on humans with new avenues on elephants thus widening my personal research
spectrum; continue working on topics and systems that attract lots of media interest in the positive sense; enable further international
funding opportunities from inter-disciplinary sources; likely lead to high-impact publications; highly interest students both at the
undergraduate and postgraduate level. I believe that my career would greatly benefit from gaining an opportunity to work with top
international researchers in my field in Sheffield.

Field of science

  • /medical and health sciences/health sciences/public and environmental health
  • /social sciences
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/zoology/mammalogy

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IEF - Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)


Firth Court Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 209 033,40
Administrative Contact
Joanne Watson (Ms.)