"Additional resources for teaching "Survivorship in the Natural World"" 14 posts Sort by created date Sort by defined ordering View as a grid View as a list

Demo of the Primate Life History Database

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The Primate Life History Database: a unique shared ecological data resource

This paper details the creation of the primate life history database that was used in the Bronikowski et al. Science paper by which underlies the "Survivorship in the Natural World" module.

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human demography from physical cemeteries, 'virtual cemeteries' and census data

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75 Years of Mortality in the United States, 1935–2010


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Extraordinary lifespans in ants: a test of evolutionary theories of ageing

This paper has a great figure showing the range of lifespans in ants and other closely related species

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Age-specific rates of fecundity for female baboons

This paper contains primary data on age-specific fecundity in female baboons. Sam Donovan has provided a useful extension of the module for calculating growth rates and his example has students use chimpanzee data. The exercise can be extended with the addition of this data for baboons as well.

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Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

This simulation allows you to enter your age and gender and then it will generate a distribution of years you have left based on the current US life expectancy estimates from the CDC.

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Sam Donovan's session on using Survivorship data

This is a recording of a session led by Sam Donovan, in which he shares the additional materials he uses with his classes to teach the DryadLab Survivorship unit.  To find the materials he talks about, see the other posts  in this collection: "Diversity of ageing across the tree of life" has the additional paper he uses and  "A Survivorship Recitation Activity" has the materials for students.  

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Diversity of ageing across the tree of life

I stumbled across this paper when looking for survivorship information on different species and it has be a great teaching resource. Mostly I use the subplots of Figure 1 (partially reproduced here) which has a whole bunch of graphs of relative mortality and fertility as a function of age for a wide range of taxa. 

Full Citation: Jones, O. R., Scheuerlein, A., Salguero-Gómez, R., Camarda, C. G., Schaible, R., Casper, B. B., ... & Vaupel, J. W. (2014). Diversity of ageing across the tree of life. Nature, 505(7482), 169-173.

When you go to the Nature site for this paper be sure to check out the "related audio" which has a nice discussion with the authors about the paper. 

Alternative Link:


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A Survivorship Recitation Activity

This is an activity that is based on the data available from the "Survivorship in the Natural World" module. Joshua Adelman, who was a post-doc in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh at the time, was the lead developer of this activity. 


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Encyclopedia of Life entry for primates

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"Comparative Data Reveal Similar Mortality Patterns Across Primates" - Paper with the published dataset

Human senescence patterns – late onset of mortality increase, slow mortality acceleration, and exceptional longevity – are often described as unique in the animal world. Using an individual-based dataset from longitudinal studies of wild populations of seven primate species, we show that contrary to assumptions of human uniqueness, human senescence falls within the primate continuum of aging, the tendency for males to have shorter lifespans and higher age-specific mortality than females throughout much of adulthood is a common feature in many, but not all, primates, and the aging profiles of primate species do not reflect phylogenetic position. These findings suggest that mortality patterns in primates are shaped by local selective forces rather than phylogenetic history.


Bronikowski AM, Altmann J, Brockman DK, Cords M, Fedigan LM, Pusey A, Stoinski T, Morris WF, Strier KB, Alberts SC (2011) Aging in the natural world: comparative data reveal similar mortality patterns across primates. Science 331(6022): 1325-1328.

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