The longest-living bat species may owe its exceptional life span, at least in part, to its genes, a new study suggests. The study researchers analyzed the genome of the Brandt’s bat, a species of vesper bat that can live to be at least 41 years old.
Although life span is typically linked with physical size — with bigger animals usually living longer — bats are an exception to this rule. In fact, Brandt’s bats, which weigh about 4 to 8 grams (0.14 to 0.28 ounces), have the longest life span for their body size, the researchers said.
Ultimately, studying long-lived mammals can help researchers understand the genetic basis of longevity in different species, said study researcher Vadim Gladyshev, a geneticist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
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