Social Ties Boost Longevity in Female Macaques

In a huge study of female rhesus macaques, a team of researchers led by Michael Platt found those with many close female relatives have a higher life expectancy.

However, the effect fades with age, suggesting older females learn how to “navigate the social landscape” and have less need for social ties.

“In the prime of life, when there is a lot of competition over resources,” Platt says, “having friends, having relatives is really critical. The effort that these females put into building and maintaining a relationship has an impact on their lives and tends to make them healthier.”

Platt, the James S. Riepe University Professor with appointments in the the Department of Psychology in Penn Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience in the Perelman School of Medicine, and Department of Marketing in the Wharton School, teamed on the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, with lead author Lauren Brent of the University of Exeter and Angelina Ruiz-Lambides of the University of Puerto Rico.

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