Well, so much for immortality. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York say that humans have reached their apex of longevity: 115 years old. Their study, published in Nature, does mention Jeanne Calment, who died in France in 1997 at a record-setting 122-years-old.
Jan Vijg, the study’s main author, tells the New York Times that he doubts we’ll see Calment’s likes again. “It seems highly likely we have reached our ceiling. From now on, this is it. Humans will never get older than 115.”
The study has stirred up controversy.
James W. Vaupel, the director of the Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, doesn’t believe that humans are approaching a lifespan limit. “It is disheartening how many times the same mistake can be made in science and published in respectable journals,” he tells the Times.
In general, the lifespan story has been a good one in recent centuries. A child born in 1900 had an average life expectancy of just under 50 years. A child born today can expect to live to 79.