Pace and Shape of Aging

DEM Research Cluster on the Pace and Shape Framework

The framework aims to facilitate comparing populations that live and die on different time scales and show qualitatively different types of aging, which is typical for data in biodemography. For example, lifespan varies dramatically ranging from minutes to centuries across species.  And even within humans, lifespan ranges from several years in crisis populations to many decades across time and place.

Pace captures time scale and is typically represented by mean ages at death. Shape captures the scale-free pattern of death. It distinguishes between positive, nil or negative aging and is typically represented by measures of relative spread of death over the life course. Shape not only classifies types and degrees of aging, but also quantifies lifespan equality.

Applications include studies of the diversity of aging across species, the relationship between pace and shape within humans and primates, within and across clades in animals and plants, the pace and shape of causes of death in humans across countries, and analyzing the impact of diet on pace and shape in lab organisms such as D. melanogaster. Some applications, such as quantifying the impact of pace vs. shape in crisis populations in humans and in captive vs wild populations in nonhumans entail the need for further development of the pace shape framework.


Coordinator: Annette Baudisch 

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