Melissa Emery Thompson
Evolutionary Anthropology, University of New Mexico
Given their close evolutionary relationship to humans and lifespans that can extend into their 60s, chimpanzees are a uniquely informative comparative model for the evolution of human aging. Here, I will review early findings of the first focused study of aging in wild chimpanzees. Chimpanzees share key similarities in physiological, physical, and social aging with humans, but they show a remarkable lack of evidence for aging pathologies. This evidence helps support and contextualize recent cross-cultural evidence from humans which suggests that common diseases of aging may be novel products of post-industrial environments.