Why Snails Are Slow: Survival!

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Why are snails so slow? Roberto Nespolo and Paulina Artacho of the Southern University of Chile may have the answer: turns out, evolution favors slower snails because they are more energy efficient.

Testing the biological hypothesis of the “energetic definition of fitness,” which purports that the less energy an animal spends, the more it will have for survival and reproduction, the researchers measured the size and standard metabolic rate (the amount of energy required for maintenance) of nearly 100 garden snails. After seven months, the researchers found that surviving snails had a metabolic rate 20 percent lower than that of the dead snails—and no correlation between snail size and rate of survival.

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