Most of us believe that humans are living longer lives compared to our predecessors through history. The belief in our increasing longevity stems from the fact that the average life expectancy is increasing. For instance, the expectancy was 40 years in 1850, and it has grown to 70 + in our age. However, what if we have been reading the numbers wrong?
The Invariant Rate of Aging Hypothesis
The invariant rate of aging is a hypothesis that states that each species has a set rate of aging. Therefore, all members of the same species live to approximately the same age. Translated into human lives, this means that our attempt to prolong human lives is not working. On average, we are dying at the same age as always, even though our life expectancy is increasing. How is this possible?
Are We Living Longer?
A group of researchers led by Fernando Colchero, University of Southern Denmark, and Susan Alberts, Duke University, North Carolina, set out to test the hypothesis. Besides Colchero and Alberts, this study included researchers from 42 institutions across 14 countries. Besides observing human populations, the scientist compared our results to that of primate populations.
“We were able to shed light on the invariant rate of aging hypothesis by combining an unpresented wealth of data and comparing births and deaths patterns on nine human populations with information from 30 non-human primate populations, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and baboons living in the wild and in zoos,” said Fernando Colchero.