Methuselah’s Zoo: What Nature Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Healthier Lives

MIT. Aug. 2022. 312p. ISBN 9780262047098. $29.95. NAT HIST
Austad (biology, Univ. of Alabama; Why We Age) has spent his career studying aging in animals. He argues here that by studying animals in the wild, scientists can develop medicines to help humans live longer and healthier. His book covers many creatures (bats; tortoises; naked mole-rats; elephants; primates; sturgeon); while there are major differences in these animals’ sizes and environments, he consistently makes the case that research (ongoing and potential ) on them can yield actionable new discoveries about human aging. He cites, for example, current studies showing naked mole-rats don’t get cancer and the revelation that cancer can be contagious among bivalves, a discovery that could advance human cancer prevention. Readers will enjoy Austad’s down-to-earth writing as he easily explains scientific complexities and relates personal stories. His book is geared to the next generation of researchers (and funders), since Austad encourages others to find answers to the questions he poses.
VERDICT For aspiring scientists and health care advocates.
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