Back Up Your Ideas As Well As Your Files. Most of us, including opinionated junior faculty members, lack the authority to back up our ideas on every subject. That's why we need to research the topic, and pool together the expert opinions that are available, together with some hard data to support or refute those opinions. You must clearly reference all substantial information in your paper, whether fact or opinion. If you borrowed it from someone else, you need to reference the source, even if it's not a direct quote. Direct quotations, by the way, are not only allowed but encouraged, as long as they are referenced.
Tables of animal lifespans typically show durations of survival by adult members of a species. However, most individuals die much sooner , before reaching maturity. This is a simple consequence of the fact that females give birth to far more offspring than can survive to reproduce in a stable population. For instance, while humans can produce only one child per reproductive season (excepting twins), the number is 1-22 offspring for dogs ( Canis familiaris ), 4-6 eggs for the starling ( Sturmus vulgaris ), 6,000-20,000 eggs for the bullfrog ( Rana catesbeiana ), and 2 million eggs for the scallop ( Argopecten irradians ). [SolbrigSolbrig, p. 37] Take a look at this figure from Thomas J. Herbert's article [Herbert] on r and K selection illustrating extremely high infant mortality for "r strategists." Most small animals like minnows and insects are r strategists.