Fellow captains of indolence, rejoice. A study of molluscs holds out hope for those of us of the laid-back persuasion
Back when I was at university in Dublin, I once gave blood at a nearby donation clinic. They gave you a free sandwich beforehand to prevent blood-depleted fainting so it was a good deal in straitened, student times (I had the chicken). Post-lunch, a nurse hooked up my arm to get the blood; after a while a doctor came over to observe, and asked how it was going. “There’s not much coming out,” the nurse complained. “His blood is pumping too slow.”
I can’t claim there is a direct medical correlation between this incident and a general sense of idleness and languor that I often feel, but it gives me comfort. Even when most of the world persists with the silly idea that sloth is a sin, there are plenty of us out there who are content with being lazy, laid-back or whatever … It is with mild joy, then, that I receive recent news that researchers are hailing “the survival of the sluggish”. Analysing 300 forms of mollusc that lived and died in the Atlantic over a 5m-year period, scientists found the creatures that burned the most energy daily were more likely to die out than those that took it easy. “The lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive,” said Bruce Lieberman, the University of Kansas professor who led the study.