Why we outlive our pets

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Science  04 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6265, pp. 1182-1185
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6265.1182

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Dogs live an average of 12 years, cats about 15—and they both have much shorter life spans than we do. Why? The question is part of a larger mystery that has stumped scientists for centuries: Just why do some animals live longer than others? Aristotle thought it had something to do with how much moisture an animal contained; modern scientists have suggested everything from metabolic rate to free radicals. Now researchers may finally be homing in on some answers. The findings could shed light on the mysteries of our pets' life spans—as well as our own.