I believe Michael Rose would argue that longevity IS selected for, and in the case of the naked mole rat, which I believe does not show reduced fertility with age, the longer they live, the more offspring they have, and so longevity should be selected for. In a sense, the NMR is like the bowhead whale and the Mcaw in that all have virtually unlimited habitats: the whale will never fill up the entire ocean, the NMR will never use up all the available dirt, and the Mccaw will never fill up the entire sky, so there is perhaps no imminent danger of destroying their own niches as a result of becoming very long lived and, as a result, overpopulating themselves to death.
Most other species, though,
do have finite niche sizes, and so Josh Mittledorf would argue that senescence has been selected for to prevent niche destruction by overpopulation. Which raises the question of whether humans may owe their great longevity compared to their nearest relatives at least in part to the fact that they can migrate and occupy every conceivable environment, thus making their niche virtually unbounded as well — well, for the first million years or so, anyway. How this evolves is another question, but at least it’s food for thought.
Most examples of big longevity gains seem to be the result of disrupting default pro-aging processes, and the logic of limiting population sizes might explain the existence of at least some active pro-aging processes whose abrogation may be the easiest way forward to human applications. For more discussion, see The Future of Aging.
Saturday, January 31, 2015 6:53 AM, “John M. “Johnny” Adams, GRG Exec Director” wrote: