Bowhead whales live longer thanks to mutation that also shrinks testes

We may have discovered one of the key reasons for the extraordinary lifespans of bowhead whales, which can live for more than 200 years

Life 23 September 2022

Aerial vew of five bowhead whales socialising in shallow water

Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) are the longest-lived mammal known

Tony Wu/naturepl.com

Bowhead whales are the longest-lived mammals known, with one male estimated to have been about 211 years old when it was killed by hunters. Now it has been found they have a gene duplication that appears to slow the division of cells, allowing the whales to live longer – but at the cost of reduced male fertility.

The long life of bowheads is probably a result of many genetic changes, but this one may be especially important, says Vincent Lynch of the …

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