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The Laziest Mollusks Are the Most Likely to Survive, Encouraging Study Finds

Get ready for an excellent reason to make no plans this weekend.

Get ready for an excellent reason to make no plans this weekend: It may be the evolutionarily wiser choice.

A new study found that of the 300 or so mollusks that have lived in the Atlantic in the last 5 million years, the laziest ones were the most likely to survive.


Researchers found that mollusks — which includes clams, mussels and snails — with high metabolisms were more likely to have gone extinct than their slower-moving, more chill counterparts.

It may be because the more laid-back mollusks didn't need as much food to get by, so were able to tough it out through leaner times.


Now, how did the scientists measure the metabolism of mollusks that are already extinct, you ask? We know this is supposed to be about how great it is to be lazy, but researchers did have to work pretty hard to figure that out.

Interestingly, there are a lot of clues in mollusk shells about how much energy the little creatures used — and there are a ton of shell fossils out there to analyze.

Previous research had linked extinction with other factors, like how much area a species took up, the size of the population and how connected they were to each other.

But for mollusks, at least, slow metabolism was the winning piece that linked the survivors together.


Unfortunately, the research — published recently in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B — is probably not an open invitation to embrace our laziest selves. The next step is for researchers to find out the factors that make it more likely for vertebrates to make it in this crazy world.

The scientists caution against applying the survivor scallop lifestyle to our own, basically.

But you know what? Take that nap anyway, if it will at least make you happy as a clam.


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