Excited to announce that our new Review - Social ageing: exploring the drivers of late-life changes in social behaviour in mammals - is now published in Biology Letters! Accumulating evidence suggests that social behaviour & social relationships commonly change across the lifespan in mammals (including humans!) - a phenomenon that has been called "social ageing". But a big outstanding question is how and why these late-life changes in social behaviour occur. Are they simply a consequence of physiological decline, or an adaptive response to changing needs and limitations in old age? Understanding what leads to social aging (and therefore if it can or should be prevented) is important as social relationships play a key role in health & fitness and are likely to be critical to ensuring healthier & longer lifespans. In this Review we describe 7 non-mutually exclusive explanations for social ageing in an effort to encourage researchers to quantify the relative contribution of these explanations & test interactions between them. We group these into 3 broad categories: (a) changes in sociality that occur as a result of senescence; (b) changes in sociality that result from adaptations to ameliorate the negative effects of senescence; and (c) changes in sociality that result from positive effects of age and demographic changes. We encourage researchers to use this Review as a guide as they work toward a deeper understanding of the drivers of social ageing. Doing so, we hope, will facilitate a clearer understanding of the consequences of social ageing for other patterns of senescence. To find out more you can read the Open Access article here: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2021.0643.
Hi, I'm Erin. I'm a scientist and nature lover. I also love to write, and although I don't find much time for informal, creative writing lately, I will try to use this space to indulge that passion a little.