Humans have reached lifespans of up to 122 years – Jeanne Calment of France – and this has intrigued scientists to figure out how long is human life span. In a new study researchers have suggested that longevity of humans can far exceed 115 years.
Human life span has garnered a lot of attention over the years despite a major study concluding that humans may have reached their maximum life span, arguing that the maximum reported human age at death had apparently generally plateaued at about 115.
Five separate research teams, however, have made their strong disagreement known after they found that the maximum human life span could far exceed previous predictions. Published in a series of papers in the journal Nature, the papers present the case that there is no compelling evidence that we are approaching an upper limit on our mortality – or at the very least, that such a limit may be considerably higher than 115 years.
James Vaupel, a demographer at the Max Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging in Denmark, co-founded the International Database on Longevity, one of the databases analyzed in the previous study argued that the prior work relied on an outdated version of the Gerontology Research Group’s database “that lacked data for many of the years they studied.”
Furthermore, they analyzed maximum age at death in a year, rather than the more appropriate maximum life span attained in a year — in many years, the world’s world’s oldest living person was older than the oldest person who died that year.”
The person behind the previous study – Jan Vijg, a molecular geneticist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York – on the other hand, is quite adamant and stands firm behind his findings. This has ultimately led the disagreement to turn into a heated debate between both the sides.
“The evidence points towards no looming limit. At present the balance of the evidence suggests that if there is a limit it is above 120, perhaps much above – and perhaps there is not a limit at all,” Vaupel said.
Vijg is equally strident, implying that his critics are, to some extent, simply upset at being confronted with their own mortality.
As per the Guardian, the latest papers argue that this conclusion is wrong and offer a host of more optimistic interpretations. Prof Siegfried Hekimi from McGill University in Montreal said: “You can show the data are compatible with many different trajectories and not at all an ongoing plateau.”
Under one such scenario, lifespans would be predicted to climb steadily upwards, such that the oldest person alive by the year 2,300 would be expected to be 150 years old. “The increase in average lifespan will not suddenly crash into a 115-year limit,” he said.