JUN 11, 2016 10:52 AM PDT

How Long Can We Live?


The world record for the longest living person belongs to a French woman named Jeanne Calment, who was 122 years and 164 days old when she died. As of May 2016, there's only one person left who was born in the 1800s. For those interested, she is an Italian woman named Emma Morano who was born in 1899.

As our understanding of biology and medicine improves, lifespan has increased. According to scientists, the first person who will live to be 150 years old has already been born. A person is more likely to die the older he or she gets. However, other organisms don't all abide by the same rule. For instance, there are some types of animals that have never been observed to die of old age. These animals have "negligible senescence," or biological immortality. They do not display symptoms of aging and can only die from predators, disease, or accidents. Animals who show negligible senescence include hydras, sea anemones, and the Aldabra giant tortoise.

We have found that social connectedness may be the best indicator of lifespan. In addition, we remember intense and novel moments for longer than times that are relatively dull. Thus, while humans are destined to age and die, we can live longer by having strong social connections and make our lives seem longer by living through unique experiences. So keep trying new things, going to new places, and learning novel ideas. While it may not elongate your life, you may feel as though you're living longer.

Sources: VSauce, USA Today
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
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