When I was a kid I aspired to live to 100 so I could get my letter from the Queen. These days I have a rather different view of the monarchy and more insight into the pivotal role of good health in old age. If you want to talk old age, there are a plenty of other animals and plants with lifespans far more impressive than ours. The question is: why do some living things live so much longer than others?
We've all heard of the Venus flytrap, but the plant kingdom contains many more wonderful examples of meat-eating species. Some plants have been known to feed on insects, frogs, and even birds and small mammals. But if plants are so good at getting energy from the sun, why would these eating habits ever have evolved in the first place?