Research from the University of Sheffield on disparate development between species of birds has discovered that those follow a “live fast die young” strategy They mature faster, allowing them to maximize the number of offspring they can produce in the short time they have available.
The findings, published in Nature Communications, showed that birds that reproduce and live in safer environments with fewer predators they generally took longer to develop, possibly because they can afford to spend more time in a vulnerable state.
They also discovered that migratory birds develop much faster, which can ensure that they are ready to return to their winter habitats in late summer.
As expected, research showed that larger birds took longer to develop, but even among birds of a similar size there was variation in development times.
Dr. Chris Cooney, from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences of the Sheffield University and lead author of the research, said: “The amount of time it takes for a fertilized egg to develop into a fully developed adult. varies greatly across the animal kingdomFor example, it takes almost 10 years for an elephant to achieve independence, while a fruit fly develops fully after just a few days.
“This extraordinary diversity is also encapsulated within birds, where albatrosses can take almost a year to develop From an embryo to an independent adult, but a typical UK songbird takes just over a month. We found that certain aspects of a species’ lifestyle and environment are important in explaining how long they take to develop. “
Dr. Alison Wright, co-author of the research at the University of Sheffield, said in a statement: “Our study on birds gives us some clues about the kinds of factors that may be important in other species. However, it may be that different factors are important in determining the length of development in other groups of animals. So the next step is to address these questions using data that covers the breadth of the animal kingdom, from fish to mammals and insects, for an even broader view of the factors that shape these fundamental differences between species. “
Dr. Nicola Hemmings, senior co-author of the University of Sheffield research, said: “The ideas of our research can be crucial to understanding and even predicting how organisms can respond when conditions change, for example, as our climate warms and our habitats become modified. “