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Newborn female mice live longer if they smell the urine of older females

The scent of older females causes young females to reach puberty later and prolong their lifespans: the first known case of scent affecting lifespan in mammals, although males are not affected.

Health


November 24, 2022

A mother mouse and her young.

Juniors Bildarchiv GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Newborn female mice that sniff out the scents of adult female mice live 8 percent longer than expected, possibly because their puberty is delayed.

We have known since the 1970s that making young female mice smell the urine of older females makes them reach puberty later. This is thought to be because “if you perceive that you have a lot of adult competitors in your environment that could affect your ability to reproduce, it may be helpful to delay your sexual maturation until they are no longer around,” he says…

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