Good Dogs Live Longer, Study Finds

Personality might play a big role in how long dogs live. Live fast die young might also apply to dogs, a study in the June issue of The American Naturalist suggests.Vincent Careau, of the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, and his colleagues came to that conclusion by comparing numerous dog breeds based on their personalities. For example, poodles are ranked as 29 percent more docile than boxers, and Careau’s team found that poodles are four times more likely than boxers to live past age 10.

Beyond simply looking at aggressiveness, the researchers also found that the most obedient breeds, such as German Shepherds, Poodles, and Bichon Frises, live considerably longer than hard-to-train dogs such as Beagles and Pomeranians. Careau used personality data based on a 1995 psychology study that ranked dog personalities and also compared dogs of similar size.


Slow Snails Are Quick to Make New Species

Snails may split into different species rapidly precisely because they move so slowly, scientists now suggest.These new findings could explain why some kinds of organisms have far more species than others.

Different populations of one species begin splitting into new species when they stop mating with each other. As such, evolutionary biologists Yael Kisel and Tim Barraclough at Imperial College London conjectured that snails and other lifeforms that occupy tiny areas might form new species more readily than others that get around more, reasoning that slowpokes are more likely to love the ones they’re with than they are to pursue long-distance relationships.

To test their idea, the researchers surveyed the rates of species formation, or speciation, in plants and animals across 64 islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.