Laziness might have an evolutionary advantage

Sea slug.
(Image credit: iStock/joebelanger)

Don't listen to what Charles Darwin says — "survival of the fittest" might be old news.

Researchers at the University of Kansas have theorized that species that use more energy on a daily basis are actually more likely to go extinct, compared to ones that use less. Their study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, analyzed more than 300 million species of mollusk in order to determine that species with a high metabolism were at a higher risk of going extinct than low-metabolism species.

Why mollusks? Simply because there are so many of them, CNN explained. The "sheer magnitude of data" made them a good choice to study the differences in metabolism and extinction rates.

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The study's findings suggest that being "lassitudinous and sluggish" might just be the best way to ensure the long-term survival of your species, said Bruce Lieberman, the study's co-author. Using less energy to function might mean that you can survive more easily in periods when getting food, or other sources of energy, isn't easy.

However, researchers were quick to note that this might not be the best strategy for us humans — so don't quit your workout routine just yet. "You can't just decide to be lazy as an individual and expect to live longer," said Luke Strotz, the study's lead author. It's not your personal choices, but rather the tendencies of your species as a whole, that make a difference to evolution.

Although these findings are only being applied to marine life as of now, they may be able to eventually help us understand why other "lazy" species, like sloths or pandas, are still around today. Read more about this study at CNN.

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Shivani is the editorial assistant at and has previously written for StreetEasy and A graduate of the physics and journalism departments at NYU, Shivani currently lives in Brooklyn and spends free time cooking, watching TV, and taking too many selfies.