Correlated evolution of social organization and lifespan in mammals

Pingfen Zhu, Weiqiang Liu, Xiaoxiao Zhang, Meng Li, Gaoming Liu, Yang Yu, Zihao Li, Xuanjing Li, Juan Du, Xiao Wang, Cyril C. Grueter, Ming Li, Xuming Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Discerning the relationship between sociality and longevity would permit a deeper understanding of how animal life history evolved. Here, we perform a phylogenetic comparative analysis of ~1000 mammalian species on three states of social organization (solitary, pair-living, and group-living) and longevity. We show that group-living species generally live longer than solitary species, and that the transition rate from a short-lived state to a long-lived state is higher in group-living than non-group-living species, altogether supporting the correlated evolution of social organization and longevity. The comparative brain transcriptomes of 94 mammalian species identify 31 genes, hormones and immunity-related pathways broadly involved in the association between social organization and longevity. Further selection features reveal twenty overlapping pathways under selection for both social organization and longevity. These results underscore a molecular basis for the influence of the social organization on longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number372
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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