Sunday, May 20, 2007

The extended adolescence threat...

As we stretch the dependency of children into their 30's we may be underwriting our own extinction. It turns out reproductive speed - no, not that speed - is crucial to the survival of species.
The oft-cited causes of habitat loss and living in a limited geographic area also are significant risks for extinction of a species, but under hunting pressure it's reproductive speed that really matters, according to a new statistical analysis by evolutionary biologist Samantha Price, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham.

This key variable helps explain, for example, why the American bison was nearly wiped out in just a few years of intense hunting pressure with relatively slight habitat change while the white-tailed deer continues to grow in number despite hunting and suburban sprawl. The bison nurses its young for 283 days on average; the deer just 80, Price notes. [More science-sounding reasons to use when your kid wants move back]

Kick 'em outta the house at 12, move and leave no forwarding address. Your descendants will thank you.

Science - ya gotta love it.

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