Female animals live longer too by an average of 18.6 per cent

It’s not just humans: Female animals live longer than males by an average of 18.6 per cent – a bigger gap than between men and women

  • Researchers studied 101 different mammal species covering 134 populations
  • This included examining the demographics of bats, lions, orcas and gorillas  
  • They found that most female mammals live longer than male mammal species 

It’s not just in human populations that women live longer than men, scientists discover that other female mammals also have longer lifespans than males.

Researchers from the Biometry and Evolutionary Biology laboratory say that in all human populations the average lifespans are longer for women than men.

They have found that is also the case for other mammals after a study of 101 different mammalian species from bats to lions. 

The team, led by Jean-François Lemaître, a CNRS researcher created the widest reaching study of mammal demographics completed to date.

They found that female mammals live 18.6 per cent longer than their male counterparts – longer than the 7.8 per cent gap between humans. 

Here a male surrounded by his harem is emitting a cry to mark his territory. Elephant seals are one of the species in which females outlive males

In human populations the difference is most stark in the oldest groups – for example nine out of ten supercentenarians – people over 110 years of age – are women.

They took this information and examined the demographic data for 134 populations of 101 different mammal species.

They also studied orca and gorilla populations as part of the study and in 60 per cent of the cases, female mammals live longer than males, the team found.

Female mammals live on average 18.6 per cent longer than male mammals according to the research team – a bigger gap than in humans.

In human communities women live on average 7.8 per cent longer than men although that varies by country.

‘This pattern of longer-lived women is consistent from the mid-18th century (when the first accurate birth records became available) until now,’ Lemaître said.

‘While social factors reinforce the gender gap in longevity, the greater survival prospects of women over men are observed even when both sexes share the same social habits. 

‘The female advantage in lifespan has thus been labeled as one of the most robust features of human biology.’

They found that men and women show differences in the dynamics of age-associated diseases, which are increasing due to a growing ageing population.

Females of all mammal species studied live longer than males, according to the research team – including lions 

Previous studies into the difference in male and female mammal lifespans have been done on human populations or animals in captivity. 

This new extensive study involved looking at all demographic data collected by other researchers examining mammal population. 

They found that the older the mammals get – just like in humans – the wider the age gap gets between male and females. 

This is in part because the longer researchers are able to study mammal populations the more accurate their estimates of longevity get, according to the team.

Looking at groups that had been studied for longer, they found that females live on average 20.3 per cent longer than males.

That was from the best studied populations – about 64 different groups covering 50 different species.

They believe that part of the longevity difference comes from local environmental conditions and availability of resources.  


Humans may live to 120 in just 60 years time, a leading expert claimed in May 2017.

Research reveals it is possible to slow down our biological, or ‘inner’, ageing process, which could help us to live decades beyond the current life expectancy of 81.

Drugs that interact with our DNA maintain the function of our bodies for longer, the research suggests.

Experts stress, however, this must be combined with a healthy lifestyle for full effect.

Yet, how a 120-year-old life expectancy may impact people’s quality of life is unclear.

The side effects of such treatments are also unknown.

Several European countries are in talks to start drug trials within the next three years.

Professor Vladimir Khavinson, head of the St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology, said: ‘It is important to understand that nobody would want to live a long and unhealthy life. 

‘The main goal for us now must be to allow people to stay healthy for as long as possible into their old age.’ 

Six of these drugs are already available in Russia.

These include Thymalin to maintain immune system function and Cortexin to preserve brain activity.

The drugs work on the so-called ‘peptide technology theory’, which states that interacting with DNA increases protein production that prolongs lifespan.

Speaking at the international symposium on longevity in Geneva, Professor Khavinson added: ‘One of the key indicators of ageing is the reduction of protein synthesis.

‘We have come to the conclusion that it is possible to restore it to a normal level with the use of peptide bioregulators and have found an optimal way to maintain natural peptide production of a sufficient quantity.

‘The technology developed by our scientific institute is based on the extraction of peptides from the tissues of young healthy animals that have the same structure as human tissues.’ 

A similar study conducted by researchers at the GLMED medical center in Moscow assessed 60 age markers throughout such drugs’ treatment in participants aged 31-to-72 years old.

Results suggested that, when combined with a healthy lifestyle, the drugs reduce a person’s biological age by an average of up to two years over 12 months.

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