Life Wellbeing Here’s why humans will never live past 125 years old

Here’s why humans will never live past 125 years old

life expectancy
Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 in 1997, is thought to be the oldest person ever. Photo: AAP
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There may be no way that a human can live past the age of 125, United States-based scientists claim.

The claims came in a study published by the journal Nature, where scientists analysed decades of data on human life expectancy.

They claimed it was so unlikely a person would live beyond that age, that you would need to search 10,000 worlds like Earth to find one individual in a given year who will live until 125.

Life expectancy has been rising since the 19th century with the introduction of vaccines, better disease-fighting medicine and practices, and safer childbirth.

The US research team, which included Professor Jan Vijg, analysed Human Mortality Database information and the deaths of those over 110 years old in France, Japan, the US and UK.

The maximum age of death had levelled out for the past two decades and life expectancy improvements had been slowing, the data showed.

In the mid-19th century, the average life expectancy was 40 for males and 42 for females, according to UK government data.

The current life expectancy for males is 71 and 73 for females.

Prof Van Vijg told BBC News: “In people over 105 we make very little progress [in increasing their lifespan], that tells you we are most likely approaching the limit to human life.

“For the first time in history we’ve been able to see this, it looks like the maximum life span – this ceiling, this barrier – is about 115.”


The oldest person ever recorded, Jeanne Calment of France, was 122 when she died in 1997.

However, there were question marks over the study, Professor Hames Vaupel told the BBC.

“In this sorry saga, those convinced that there are looming limits did not apply demography and statistics to test hypotheses about lifespan limits – instead they exploited rhetoric, deficient methods and pretty graphics to attempt to prove their gut feelings.

“[This research] adds nothing to scientific knowledge about how long we will live.”

Italian woman Emma Morano, 116, is recognised as the world’s oldest living person.

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