Why do females often live longer than males?

Female animals tend to live longer their male counterparts, but why?

Males throughout the animal kingdom tend to live shorter lives than females. © DeAgostini / Getty Images

Being male may have its advantages, but longevity isn’t one of them.

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Males throughout the animal kingdom tend to live shorter lives than females. The discrepancy stems from the intense competition between males to fertilise females, which inclines them towards a rather unsustainable all-or-nothing life strategy involving fights to the death and flamboyant, energy-sapping displays.

One study of African killifish showed that the gaudy males turn the heads not only of females, but predators, too, to the point that males comprise only about 30% of the population.


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