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The Shorter Lives of Men Explained

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Women live longer than men. It's true in most countries, and has been a well-documented fact since the 18th century. Studies have been done, and there have been many possible explanations. There is the difference in work habits, stress, diet, and bad genes, just to name a few. But a new theory suggests something entirely different. Men have shorter life spans because attracting a mate takes a lot of energy. And that loss of energy may reduce the number of years a man lives.

Daniel Kruger at the University of Michigan suggests that many animals advertise their suitability to females. Some animals butt heads, for example, or have beautiful feathers and decoration. Of course, humankind doesn't butt heads. Men don't usually fight for a woman's hand either. Men compete for resources and social status, two factors valued in the selection process. Accumulation of both advertise the male's proven ability to provide for a future family.

But what about males with a lower economic position?

Another study published last year stated that these single men are more likely to behave riskily. This is especially true of young, single men. They take many risks, are more aggressive, and hold back their emotions. These actions act as a substitute for wealth and social status.

Both studies conclude that women remain choosy when selecting a potential mate, because of the survival and success of their offspring. All that energy used to impress women means shorter life spans for men.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Speculate: Write in the missing words for today's article title: "The Shorter ( ) of Men ( )." Why did you choose these words for the blanks?

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. It's true in most countries, and has been...
  2. Men have shorter life spans because...
  3. Accumulation of both advertise...
  4. These actions act as...
  5. All that energy used to impress women...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Do you agree with the article's findings? Why/not?
  2. The lifespan of women has been decreasing recently. Why do you think this has happened?
  3. List as many stereotypes as possible about young men. With this list, do you agree that they are risk-takers?
  4. Is it possible to limit the risks young men take, or does it goes against millions of years of evolution?
  5. Why do you think young men take so many risks?

Google Search: Type "life span" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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