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The Average Lifespans of Mammals

Mammals, though representing a small fraction of Earth's biodiversity, play indispensable ecological roles worldwide. Their contributions to ecosystem health, including pollination, seed dispersal, and predator-prey dynamics, are crucial.

A recent visualization on the Voronoi app has captured attention by illustrating the average lifespans of mammals, drawing on data from Discover Wildlife and the United Nations.

The Average Lifespans of Mammals

Human Lifespans on the Rise

Mammals, defined by their warm-blooded nature and possession of hair or fur, nurture their young with milk from mammary glands. While some, like weasels, typically live only 1-2 years, others, such as elephants, can thrive for decades, and bowhead whales can live for over 200 years.


Average lifespan (years)


1 to 2







Brown bear


Lowland tapir


Western gorilla


Brandt's bat


Humans (1950)




Humans (2022)


Bowhead whale


Human lifespans have seen a remarkable increase. The global average life expectancy, as reported by the UN Population Division, has risen from 47 years in 1950 to 72 years in 2022, marking a 25-year increase. This improvement is attributed to advances in nutrition, medicine, and access to essential resources.

However, the flourishing longevity of humans can have adverse effects on wildlife mammal populations. Over the past 100,000 years, the surge in human population has resulted in an 85% reduction in wild mammal biomass.

Currently, livestock accounts for 62% of the world's mammal biomass, with humans accounting for 34%, while wild mammals make up only 4%.

Despite the decline in mammal diversity, the total biomass of terrestrial mammals has significantly increased, expanding approximately ninefold over the past 10,000 years.

Interested in delving deeper into the science of aging and longevity? Explore these insightful books!

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