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From Phylogeny to Ontogeny of Longevity: Contributions of the Evolutionary Approach to Gerontology

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DOI: 10.4236/psych.2015.610123    3,300 Downloads   3,653 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

This qualitative study aimed at performing a theoretical review and understanding the phylogenic aspects and the story of the ontogenic development of human longevity, in addition to proposing a brief reflection about the role of old age in an evolutionary perspective based on the theoretical references of Ethology, Evolutionary Developmental Psychology, and Gerontology. This is a narrative review based on national and international publications selected from journals and books indexed online which were accessed by the following database: Lilacs, Google Scholar, and Scielo, with a 55-year period range for the search (1957 to 2012) through the combined descriptors: longevity, aging, evolutionary psychology, phylogeny, and ontogeny. According to the inclusion criteria, 43 publications were analyzed through the Content Analysis and discusses in three categories: distal causal mechanism of human longevity, approaching the enlargement of the stages of life, and theories that discuss the reproductive role of the species; proximal causal mechanisms, built along life and the evolutionary role of aging with its importance for the species in the attempt to amplify the meanings of this stage of life in the Gerontology field. Faced with the discussion, we perceived that the study of the determinants of human longevity (in their phylogenetic and ontogenetic dimensions) is consistent and represents an important model for a broader and deeper understanding.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

do Nascimento, R. , Brito, J. and Magalhães, C. (2015) From Phylogeny to Ontogeny of Longevity: Contributions of the Evolutionary Approach to Gerontology. Psychology, 6, 1255-1264. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.610123.

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