Search the DATLife database for animal life tables and other relevant demographic data


DATLife (Demography of Aging across the Tree of Life) is a curated data source for the comparative analysis of mortality and fertility across animals. In this context, “curated” means that the quality of information is assessed and recorded in the database.

All information in DATLife is checked carefully, eventually recalculated, and continuously updated. DATLife contains only published data. For each data type, the study location, the study duration, and the end date of the study are recorded.

DATLife was created by Alexander Scheuerlein, Dirk Vieregg, Daniel Prast, and others, (see WHO’S WHO) for the Laboratory for Evolutionary Demography led by James W. Vaupel at the Max-Planck-Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.

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Terms of Use

DATLife data are open access, free use, under the condition that DATLife is cited as the source (see USERS AGREEMENT). Please use the following format:

DATLife – The Demography Across the Tree of Life – database. Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany). Available at www.datlife.org. (data downloaded on [date])

Should you find errors in the data, or wish to contribute see CONTRIBUTE in the menu.

DATLife holds the following population-level information

1. Age-specific mortality, mostly published as “life tables” or “age structures.” Currently, the database holds original data as published, with complete lifetables calculated using standard assumptions (see ABOUT THE PROJECT)

2. Age-specific fertility

3. Stage-specific mortality means for our purposes survival at a specific stage at which the exact ages are unknown. Typical examples of stage-specific survival data are annual juvenile and annual adult survival of animals.

4. Maximum observed lifespan is an extreme value of an individual in a given population. To facilitate quality assessment, we include the number of individual lifespans known within a study group, and whether the maximum observed lifespan was from an animal that was dead or alive.

5. Age at maturity. Although this age is frequently recorded in other compilations of data (Pantheria database, Animal Diversity Web), there are many fundamentally different definitions of the “age at sexual maturity.” Here, the original publications were retrieved and the exact data category is determined.


  • 277 species age-specific mortality
  • 46 species age-specific fertility
  • 698 species stage-specific mortality
  • 3072 species maximum lifespan
  • 2803 species age at maturity


Loxodonta africana

Kingdome: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae

Papio cynocephalus

Kingdome: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae

Syncerus caffer

Kingdome: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae

Dromas ardeola

Kingdome: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Dromadidae


1. Colchero, F.; Rau, R.; Jones, O.R.; Barthold, J.A.; Conde, D.A.; Lenart, A.; Nemeth, L.; Scheuerlein, A.; Schoeley, J.; Torres, C.; Zarulli, V.; Altmann, J.; Brockman, D.K.; Bronikowski, A.M.; Fedigan, L.M.; Pusey, A.E.; Stoinski, T.S.; Strier, K.B.; Baudisch, A.; Alberts, S.C.; Vaupel, J.W. (2016) The emergence of longevous populations. PNAS. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1612191113. - Awarded with the 2016 PNAS Cozzarelli Prize Class V recognizing „recently published PNAS papers of outstanding scientific excellence and originality“...

2. Kramer, B.H.; Schaible, R.; Scheuerlein, A. (2016) Worker lifespan is an adaptive trait during colony establishment in the long-lived ant Lasius niger. Experimental Gerontology 85: 18-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2016.09.008

3. Schaible, R.; Scheuerlein. A.; Dańko, M. J.; Gampe, J.; Martinez, D. E.; Vaupel, J. W. (2015) Constant mortality and fertility over age in Hydra. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112(51): 15701-15706. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1521002112

4. Jones, O.R.; Scheuerlein, A.(shared first-authorship with Jones, O.R.); Salguero-Gomez, R.; Camarda, C.G.; Schaible, R.; Casper, B.B.; Dahlgren, J.P.; Ehrlen, J.; Garcia, M.B.; Menges, E.; Quintana-Ascencio, P.F.; Caswell, H.; Baudisch, A.; Vaupel, J.W. (2014) Diversity of ageing across the tree of life. Nature, 505, 169-173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12789

5. Ricklefs, R. E. & Scheuerlein, A. (2001) Comparison of aging-related mortality among birds and mammals. Experimental Gerontology 36, 845-857. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0531-5565(00)00245-x