age, physiological



age, physiological defined in 1939 year

age, physiological - Age, physiological (Lat. aetas, age, O. Fr. aage);
age, physiological - Physiologists divide the life of human beings into five ages: infancy to 7 years, childhood to 14, youth to 21, adult to 50, and old age thereafter. Some physiologists recognize, with Shakespeare, seven ages: infancy, childhood, boyhood or girlhood, adolescence, manhood or womanhood, age, and old age. In law a person is an infant up to 21 years, when he or she reaches majority. A child (boy or girl) cannot be legally guilty of crime before the age of 8 and only then on proof that he knew what he was doing; at 14 he can be guilty of crime without special proof. A child can be sent to prison at 17 and, in exceptional cases, at 14. At 16 he or she can marry (the consent is also required of parents or guardians up to the age of 21). Children cannot be employed if more than two years below the school leaving age. Eighteen is the earliest age at which a child can legally be sentenced to death. The sovereign becomes of full age at 18. At majority full legal rights and obligations are applicable. In Scotland there is no legal infancy; a male is in a state of pupilage up to 14 years, a female to 12, both then becoming minors until 21. A person may marry without parental consent under 21.

In the British Empire, majority is usually reached at 21 and also in most of Europe. In France and Belgium marriage without consent of guardians was prohibited before 25. Majority ages in other countries are: China, 20: Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, 21: Argentina, 22; Chile, 24. In the United States the majority age is 21, but in seventeen States it is 18 for females. A male can vote in the U.S.A. at 21, be elected to Congress at 25, and to the Senate at 30.

The average age of Europeans has tended to increase in the twentieth century. In England and Wales the percentage of persons in the later age groups increased as follows:
Age Group1921 Census1931 Census1940 Estd.
%%%
25-4935.6636.1237.48
50-7417.3420.6426.29
75-851.712.052.7
54.7158.8166.47

See Infant: Longevity.

For animals, reliable records of age are only obtainable under captivity or more or less unnatural conditions, and figures are accordingly vague. For instance, the African elephant has been credited with reaching 150 to 200 years. Hunters estimate that in the wild state 100 years is probable. The Indian elephant reaches 70—80 years.. Other Zoological Society figures for mammals are: porcupine, 10-14 years; wolf, 12-15: reindeer, 12; antelope, leopard, sea lion, 15-20 i tiger, 20; lion, Bactrian camel, 20-25; giraffe, 25; brown and Arctic bear, 30; rhesus monkey, 30-35; rhinoceros 35-40; orang-utan, chimpanzee, 40-45; gorilla. 45-50; hippopotamus, 45. For whales no reliable figures can be given, published estimates of 300 to 500 years being unsound. For domestic animals average ages are stated as: oat, 12-15 (may be greater); dog, 12-15 (authenticated cases of 25 years); horse, 25 (have reached over 30 years, equivalent to a man of 80). The common statement that a dog's age multiplied by 7 gives the human equivalent is only partly correct, a dog reaching puberty at a much earlier relative stage, but at 5 years it may be said to be equivalent to a man at 35.

Among birds, parrots have been recorded as exceeding 100 years. Other statements are: raven, over 50; blackbird, 18; pigeon, 20; sparrow, 40; eagle, 60 and over; swan, over 100. Among fish, pike and carp are reputed centenarians. Insects have been studied, the common moth living for about 3½ days, the mayfly for 1 day, and the dragonfly for 7 weeks. According to Weisman, protozoa, which multiply by division, are to be considered as immortal. See C. S. Minot, Problem of Age Growth, and Death, 1908.

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