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A predictive model for life expectancy curves

Kloeden, P.E., Rössler, O.E. and Rössler, R. (1990) A predictive model for life expectancy curves. Biosystems, 24 (2). pp. 119-125.

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Life expectancy curves have a characteristic ominous shape that has fascinated scientists for centuries. Medawar was the first to explain this shape, specifically the steeply rising proneness of an average individual to die as a function of age, in evolutionary terms. The idea was that the "selective value" of the individual decreases as it has triggered other individuals taking its place (and carrying its genes) into existence. We demonstrate that this idea can be turned into a quantitative model. The resulting 4-parameter function reproduces well two well-known life expectancy curves from the first half of this century. Moreover, the easily interpretable parameters (3 of the 4) seem intuitively reasonable.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Copyright: © 1990 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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