many kinds of populations, from insects and other forms of life (Carey, 1993) to Chevrolets. If nothing in biology can be understood except in the light of evolution, an equally valid generalization is that nothing in evolution can be understood except in the light of demography. Lotka's demographic equation, which relates survival and fertility to population growth, is the fundamental equation in most evolutionary theorizing in general and in the evolutionary biology of aging in particular.

As Rose (1991) stated, ''From these basic features of the demography of populations (i.e., the age-trajectories of survival and fecundity), the crucial evolutionary determinants of aging follow." The research of demographers, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists reviewed in this chapter shows it is still not fully understood how the crucial evolutionary determinants of aging follow from the underlying demography of survival and fertility. Nonetheless, the point is well taken. Deeper understanding of the demography of populations—through research on genetic, environmental. behavioral, bio-reliability. and heterogeneity forces and constraints, including emphasis on the role of the elderly in nature (Carey and Gruenfelder, in this volume)—will almost certainly provide new insights and perhaps the crucial insights into the mechanisms that drive the processes of aging and survival.


Aalen. O.O. 1995 Phase type distributions in survival analysis. Scandinavian Journal of Statistics 22:447-463.

Abrams. P. 1993 Does increased mortality favor the evolution of more rapid senescence? Evolution 47:877-888.

Boe. C.. C. Gruenfelder. P. Liedo. and J.R. Carey 1995 Mortality Deceleration and Longevity in the Mexican Fruit Fly (Anastrepha ludens). Manuscript. Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Brooks, A. G.J. Lithgow. and T.E. Johnson 1994 Mortality-rates in a genetically heterogeneous population of Caenorhabditis elegans. Science 263[5147]:668-671.

Carey, J.R 1993 Applied Demography for Biologists. New York: Oxford University Press.

Carey, J.R., and P. Liedo 1995 Sex mortality differentials and selective survival in large medfly cohorts. The Gerontologist 35:588-596.

Carey, J.R.. P. Liedo, D. Oro/co. and J.W. Vaupel 1992 Slowing of mortality rates at older ages in large medfly cohorts. Science 258:457-461.

Carey. J.R., P. Liedo, and J.W. Vaupel 1995 Mortality dynamics of density in the Mediterranean fruit fly. Experimental Gerontology 30:605-629.

Charlesworth, R. 1994 Evolution in Age-Structured Populations, 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement