Did early humans live longer?
In short, no, people did not generally live longer in ancient times when compared with today. They especially did not average 100+ years. Some may have lived beyond the average life expectancy of today but this was uncommon.
Ancient Times Through Pre-Industrial Times
And, this is a misconception given that many people in ancient and pre-industrial times lived just as long (and sometimes longer) than many adults living today. But from the perspective of a population as a whole, life expectancy from about 6,000 BC to 100 BC was low.
PALEOLITHIC STAGE ENCOUNTERS
The first encounters began about 8000 generations ago in the Paleolithic era when approximately 75% of deaths were caused by infection, including diarrheal diseases that resulted in dehydration and starvation. Life expectancy was approximately 33 years of age.
Even before civilization, people were unique among apes in having low mortality and long lives. Hunter-gatherers armed with spears and bows could defend against predators; food sharing prevented starvation. So we evolved delayed sexual maturity, and long lifespans—up to 70 years.
Although all earlier hominins are now extinct, many of their adaptations for survival—an appetite for a varied diet, making tools to gather food, caring for each other, and using fire for heat and cooking—make up the foundation of our modern survival mechanisms and are among the defining characteristics of our species.
Environmental improvements beginning in the 1900s extended the average life span dramatically with significant improvements in the availability of food and clean water, better housing and living conditions, reduced exposure to infectious diseases, and access to medical care.
Experts estimate that in about 100 years antibiotics extended the average lifespan in the U.S by 23 years. The popularization of home refrigeration, pasteurization and new food safety regulations to control bacteria also contributed to lower rates of infection.
Most biological species have limits (as determined by there genes). In other words even if you were super fit and given all the nutrients and supplements that your body needs you will not live to a 1000 years. 200 years would be a more realistic goal.
Humans have a maximum known lifespan of about 120 years, but this was excluded from their calibration data for being too much of an outlier. According to the paper, which was published in Nature Scientific Reports, “this does not reflect the variability [of] the true global average lifespan (60.9–86.3 years).”
Humans' life expectancy (average) is 70-85 years. However, the oldest verified person (Jeanne Clement, 1875-1997) lived up to 122 years. As a person ages, the telomeres (chromosome ends) tend to become shorter in every consecutive cycle of replication. Also, bones start getting weaker by reducing in size and density.
Were early humans healthier than us?
Ancient people who lived in the north were healthier. They had better teeth and less cancer. The most ancient individuals were less likely to have been predisposed to cancer and neurological/psychological conditions.
Virtually impossible. To even begin to evolve in that direction, our species would need to be subject to some sort of selective pressure that would favour the development of proto-wings, which we're not.
Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus): 211 years old
Another inhabitant of icy northern waters, the bowhead whale, holds the record for the longest-living mammal. It was already known that it could live for a century, but a more detailed study found much older specimens, one of which lived to be 211 years old.
What's more, the sniffles may have plagued us for far longer. The DNA of one virus suggests it first evolved around 700,000 years ago – suggesting viruses that cause colds predate our species, and also troubled our Neanderthal cousins.
They had the same intelligence as us because they were Homo sapiens too. If you took a newborn baby from 10,000 years ago and raised it today it would be the same us. Our brains and their brains were genetically the same. They would have had less scientific knowledge though.
Yes, people just like us lived through the ice age. Since our species, Homo sapiens, emerged about 300,000 years ago in Africa, we have spread around the world. During the ice age, some populations remained in Africa and did not experience the full effects of the cold.
The blood type B was statistically more frequent among the centenarians than in the control subjects (29.4% vs 21.9%; P = . 04). From these findings, the authors concluded that blood group B might be associated with exceptional longevity.
In the past 100 years, the average lifespan has increased by about 25 years. At the same time, we've increased the burden of disease. We're living longer, but not healthier. Most chronic diseases and cancers occur in the later part of life, in the 25 years of life we've gained thanks to modern medicine.
When it comes to body shape and longevity, it's more helpful to compare apples and pears. That's the message of a study published in the journal PLOS ONE that found that pear-shaped people, who have comparatively thinner waists than people shaped like apples, tend to live longer.
Methuselah, in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), patriarch whose life span as recorded in Genesis (5:27) was 969 years.
Will Gen Z live past 100?
In conclusion, while there is potential for Gen Z to live past 100, it is contingent on a complex interplay of factors. Only time will tell if the benefits of medical advancements and healthier lifestyles will outweigh the challenges posed by socioeconomic disparities and environmental threats.
According to the United Nations Population Division, global life expectancy at birth for both sexes has improved from 46.5 years in 1950 to 71.7 years in 2022 and is expected to rise to 77.3 by 2050.
Though Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman who died at the age of 122 in 1997, lived history's longest verified human life, scientists believe somewhere around 120 is about as far as the human body can stretch.
While some researchers contend that a natural limit sits around 120, 140, or 150 years, others speculate that a limit doesn't exist—and that aging doesn't necessarily lead to death.
Immortality Is Impossible. Blame the Physics of Aging, Scientists Say. Theoretically, the systems in our bodies can repair themselves indefinitely. Practically, the laws of physics make that a futile pursuit.