What causes parrots to live so long? - Net - Indir

What causes parrots to live so long?

Parrots live very long lives, reaching septuagenarian or even octogenarian status. Longevity is frequently associated with increased body size in animals, yet parrots live as long as larger birds and much longer than birds of equivalent size.

So, why do parrots live for such a long time?

They’re already well-known for their beautiful hues and imitating abilities. Do any of these factors contribute to their longevity?
According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences in March 2022, their lengthy lifespan may be linked to another of their well-known characteristics: their outstanding intelligence.

Birds live longer than mammals of similar size in general, “possibly because they can fly and evade predators,” according to research main author Simeon Smeele, an evolutionary ecologist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Radolfzell, Germany. “Sulphur-crested cockatoos, for example, can live up to 70 to 80 years in severe situations, although weighing just 700 to 1,000 grams [1.5 to 2.2 pounds]. Humans are 100 times heavier than animals, but they only survive a few decades longer.”

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Parrots, on the other hand, live exceptionally lengthy lives for birds. For example, whereas the American robin (Turdus migratorius), one of North America’s most common birds, lives only around two years on average, the rosy-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) “lives on average eight years but is substantially smaller than the robin,” Smeele noted.

On average, the longest-lived parrots live 20 to 30 years. “There are other birds that can accomplish this,” Smeele noted, “but they are considerably larger.” “A flamingo, for example, weighs nearly four times as much as the longest-lived parrots but lives about the same amount of time.”

(These average lifespans are not maximum lifespans.) “Robins, flamingos, and parrots can live much longer if they survive it past the first year,” Smeele noted.)

Previous study has revealed that brain size is related to longevity in a variety of animals, possibly because larger brains helped them find food or avoid danger. Although parrots are recognized for their longevity and complex behaviors, with brain-to-body size ratios comparable to primates, it was unclear whether the two features were linked. This is because scientists were unable to account for what might promote parrot longevity due to a lack of data on a large number of birds.

The researchers collaborated with the wildlife conservation NGO Species360 to amass data from over 130,000 individual parrots in over 1,000 zoos across the world for the study. They used this database to create the first solid estimates of the average lifespans of 217 parrot species, accounting for more than half of all known species.

The studies revealed a wide range of parrot life expectancy, ranging from two years for the fig parrot (which belongs to two genera: Cyclopsitta and Psittaculirostris) to 30 years for the scarlet macaw (Ara macao). The sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) from Australia is another long-lived species, with an average lifespan of 25 years.

The scientists discovered that having a relatively large brain was consistently linked to a longer lifespan in parrots. This suggests that intelligent birds can handle difficulties in the wild more effectively, allowing them to have longer lives.

“It really shows that having a bigger brain can help you live longer,” said Smeele.

The researchers looked at the notion that relatively large brains take longer to grow and so demand longer lifespans. The researchers, on the other hand, discovered no connection between longevity and developmental time or parental investment.

Smeele said, “I would have expected parental care to be much more significant.” In monkeys, on the other hand, the higher costs of developing a large brain are associated to lifespan, he said.

The researchers want to investigate if more social parrots have larger brains and live longer in the future. “We believe that organisms that live in complex groups may learn a variety of abilities, such as how to forage, how to become dominant, and so on,” Smeele added, “but this learning would take time and a large brain.”

Smeele advises caution “It’s tempting to assume that brighter individuals live longer lives, but this isn’t always the case. A larger brain burns more energy, which could be dangerous. This has been demonstrated in guppies, where larger members of the same species lived shorter lives.”


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