Evolution might favour ‘survival of the laziest’, study claims

If you love lying on the sofa doing nothing all day, then fear not – evolution may actually favour you.

A new study by researchers from the University of Kansas has revealed that evolution might favour ‘survival of the laziest.’

In the study, the researchers looked at a period of roughly five million years from the mid-Pliocene to the present, analysing the metabolic rates of 299 species.

Their analysis revealed that higher metabolic rates were actually a predictor of extinction likelihood.

Dr Luke Strotz, who led the study, said: “We wondered, ‘Could you look at the probability of extinction of a species based on energy uptake by an organism?’

"We found a difference for mollusk species that have gone extinct over the past 5 million years and ones that are still around today.

“Those that have gone extinct tend to have higher metabolic rates than those that are still living.

“Those that have lower energy maintenance requirements seem more likely to survive than those organisms with higher metabolic rates.”

The findings suggest that the best long-term evolutionary strategy for animals is to be lazy and sluggish.

Professor Bruce Lieberman, one of the other researchers on the study, said: “Instead of ‘survival of the fittest,’ maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is ‘survival of the laziest’ or at least ‘survival of the sluggish.’”

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