The big difference could lie in a gene called Rasgrf1, the researchers believe.
The gene, located on Chromosome 9, is associated with post-natal growth. It normally expresses from the paternally inherited chromosome.
"The study may give an answer to the fundamental questions: that is, whether longevity in mammals is controlled by the genome of only one or both parents and, just maybe, why women are an advantage over men with regard to the lifespan," Kono said.
One theory about longevity is that males have bigger bodies in order to win out in the race for breeding opportunities and thus scatter their genes.
The price for this, though, is a shorter lifespan.
Females, though, do not have to engage in this genetically costly beauty show, and instead optimize their reproductive output by conserving energy for delivering their offspring, nurturing it, foraging for food and avoiding predators.