There are differences between humans, gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos that are obvious, but others are not so obvious. A new study reveals that humans have a faster than their relatives, which has enabled them to develop larger brains metabolic rate. Perhaps here resides the secret of human longevity.
US – Humans enjoy longer than the other primates, increased reproduction rate, more body fat, more disguises and larger brains and metabolically features which are rich in our lives. According to a new study published in Nature, this occurs due to a faster than their evolutionary relatives metabolism.
“Our accelerated metabolism provides the energy required to allow this level of activity,” explains Herman Pontzer, a researcher at Hunter College in New York (USA) and co-author of the study.
The researchers measured for ten days the energy expenditure of 141 individuals and 56 species of great apes (chimpanzees 27, 8 bonobos, gorillas and 11 orangutans 10). Humans evolved with a faster metabolism and increased total energy expenditure, consuming 400 more calories than chimpanzees and bonobos, 635 more than gorillas and 820 more than orangutans.
Experts believe that the increase in energy expenditure is attributable to a higher basal metabolic rate-the amount of energy required to keep the body functioning at rest which means increased metabolic activity of organs.
Energy to live
The study also explains that to help cover the high energy demand required by our bodies, human beings evolved a body fat percentage greater than their ancestors -22.9% in men and 41.7% in women, which acts as an energy reserve.
Thus, this accelerated metabolism could be the secret of long longevity of humans. “Living longer requires our bodies to invest more energy to repair and maintain our immune system, our cells and tissues. We believe one of the reasons why we live longer than other apes is that we spend more energy on these tasks, “concludes the author.
The work shows that energy expenditure is not fixed, but varies -you can enlarge or reduce-with evolution. However, experts believe that more studies are still needed to find exactly what mechanisms and activities that require more energy and what differences exist regarding other species are.