Aging Across Scales
Abstract: Evolutionary theories of senescence answer why we age and conclude that aging is inevitable. Recent work based on modeling tradeoffs between survival and reproduction has questioned this paradigm and shifted the fundamental question of "why we age?" to "why we age but others do not?". Implicitly, this work also suggests that the answer to "why we age but others do not?" is invariant to the scale of lifespan. To that end, the pace-shape framework of aging separates the scale (pace) from the pattern (shape) of aging to facilitate systematic comparison across species. Broadening the focal question, even more, to "why does anything improve, retain, or lose its functioning over time, be it living or nonliving, of natural or artificial origin, of material or nonmaterial quality?" offers a perspective that invites all disciplines to contribute answers and to uncover the laws of aging. In this endeavor, population thinking across scales may be instrumental.
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