How They Molt

November 30th, 2010

The Daily Beast recently compiled a list of which common household pets live the longest. Typically, a child’s first animal companion is meant to be a lesson in responsibility and, failing that, mortality. While the creatures on The Daily Beast’s rankings may not help youngsters come to the realization that Nana and her Peanut Butter Blossom cookies are not permanent fixtures on this earth, their longevity does have its benefits. For example, the mimicry abilities of an African Grey Parrot could provide a child with an an audio history of his life, including the sound of his parents singing “Happy Birthday” to him as a boy, as well as that bouquet of salty language he spouted after stubbing his toe on the dining room chair.

And while some of our four-legged and two-winged friends are getting older and older (AARP commemorated Woody Woodpecker’s 70th birthday last week), others are getting younger and younger. The Guardian reports that Harvard scientists have discovered a way to actually reverse the aging process in mice. While it has yet to be determined whether the treatment is effective, or even safe, for humans, the mice are using their new lease on life to finally finish their Masters and get back in touch with their 157 estranged children.