Life span and development time are considered in the context of the abiotic stresses to which free-living organisms are normally exposed. Under these circumstances, long life span depends upon metabolically efficient stress-resistance genes, which tend to be heterozygous. Similarly, rapid development time tends to be a feature of heterozygous stress-resistant individuals. Therefore, individuals who have high inherited stress resistance should develop fastest and live longest; in addition, they should show high homeostasis in the fact of the energy costs of stress. In this way, the stress theory of aging can incorporate the developmental stage, based upon oxidative stress as an important major direct challenge.