I recently began reading Retrospectacle, a blog by neuroscience postgraduate student Shelley Batts that digs up interesting and odd science stories like a recent item about grey parrots, whose 100-year lifespan in captivity raises an unusual dilemma for pet owners: Should you raise a pet that's going to outlive you?
Other birds and even other species of parrots don't live near as long as African Greys. Why might this be? According to a study published in the journal Aging in 1999, the rate of mitochondial oxygen radical generation is lower in long-lived birds than in short-lived birds and mammals. We've all heard about the destructive capability of so-called "free-radicals" as reported in the news, and it seems that African Greys may have less free radical production than short-lived birds, and less oxidative damage.
Batts is up for a $5,000 student blogging scholarship that's decided by a public vote ending at midnight Sunday. Su voto es su voz.