We have examined the tolerance of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), as measured by the appearance of tetraploid cells in the presence of a microtubule inhibitor, in a series of primary cell strains derived from species with diverse lifespan and body size. We find that the integrity of the SAC varies among these species. There is a robust correlation between the integrity of the SAC and body size, but poor correlation with longevity and parameters of species development (i.e., time of female fertility, gestation length, and postnatal growth rate). The results suggest that fidelity of the SAC co-evolved more closely with the number of mitoses needed to reach adulthood than with species lifespan.