By studying molluscs, the team of experts found that species with low energy expenditure survived for a lot longer than those that had higher energy.
Luke Strotz, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Kansas' Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, said in a press release:
Those that have lower energy maintenance requirements seem more likely to survive than those organisms with a higher metabolic rate.
The scientists are now hoping that they can apply this research in their studies of other species that are at risk of extinction in the hope of maintaining their longevity.
Bruce Lieberman, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, is quoted by UPI as saying:
Maybe in the long term the best evolutionary strategy for animals is to be lassitudinous and sluggish -- the lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive.
Instead of 'survival of the fittest,' maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is 'survival of the laziest' or at least 'survival of the sluggish.
Although the study does state that there are a number of reasons as to why certain species are more at risk of extinction than others, discovering that metabolism plays a part in survival will help improve the accuracy of determining the probability of extinction.
However, metabolic rate is considered to be less of a factor for species that cover a large number of habitats and ecosystems but the link between metabolism and extinction is more common in creatures with a low distribution of energy.
In conclusion, the experts add that they will have to examine the connection between metabolism and extinction in other animal groups to understand the sensation further.
We see these results as generalizable to other groups, at least within the marine realm.
Some of the next steps are to expand it out to other clades, to see if the result is consistent with some things we know about other groups.