There's a Genetic Limit to How Long Humans Can Live, Claims New Study

Thursday, 14 December 2017 - 10:45AM
Weird Science
Thursday, 14 December 2017 - 10:45AM
There's a Genetic Limit to How Long Humans Can Live, Claims New Study
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Image credit: Pixabay
Breaking news: We're all going to die. And now we know the exact expiration date of all human beings.

As a species, we've never been comfortable with the idea of death.

Since gaining sentience, mankind has always been eager to try and extend life for as long as it will possibly go on, and has done so through a variety of means, from medical advancements to religious introspection.

Even the pyramids were essentially created both as a literal and figurative way of ensuring that the ancient Pharaohs lived on forever, with holy rituals intending to provide a smooth transition to the afterlife, while the size and scope of the stone monuments ensuring that these long-dead kings will never be forgotten.

As much as we may get excited over the prospects of extending life indefinitely, it seems that we'll never actually manage to banish death altogether. The human body is simply too fragile and imperfect to be able to fight death forever, claims a new study, published in Frontiers in Physiology.

The first study of its kind, this research looked at 120 years of scientific discovery and medical records, with scientists coming to the conclusion that while we can slow the natural effects of aging, it's impossible to completely prevent a person's body—their organs, brain, cells, and even DNA, from slowly deteriorating over time.

"[M]odern human potential, including an enlarged brain, adult height, lifespan, and physical performance, has been dependent on very long-term evolutionary parameters. If we consider the community that supports the idea that, in the near future, humans may live 200 years, 500 years or more, it is easy to show that these persons usually perform mathematical projections without any biological and environmental considerations," said researchers Jean-François Toussaint and Adrien Marck.

Apparently, there's only so long that the human body can keep running before natural wear and tear is going to break it down and stop it from functioning as expected.

Of course, this doesn't take into account the possibility for future advancements in cyborg technology, and the opportunity for people to live the San Junipero dream by uploading their minds to the cloud.

There's an element of the old Ship of Theseus debate to this issue.

If our bodies aren't ever going to live forever, it makes sense to move our consciousness into another form, but if we replace every organic piece of ourselves, are we really the same person, or have we simply created a digital copy of our own personal history?

Is a photo of the Mona Lisa the same thing as the real painting? Are we, ourselves, even the same people over the decades as our bodies slowly replace all old cells with new ones?

Perhaps humanity will never be able to find a satisfying way to banish death and allow us to live forever in a state of endless happiness.

This might be for the best—if we're aware that we're living on borrowed time, we're better prepared to cherish what moments we do have while on this plane of existence.
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There's a Genetic Limit to How Long Humans Can Live, Claims New Study