The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

" in demography
Demography is the statistical study of human population. It can be a very general science that can be applied to any kind of dynamic human population, that is, one that changes over time or space...

 or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected (an ancient tree, for example).

Reflections on longevity have usually gone beyond acknowledging the brevity of human life and have included thinking about methods to extend life. Longevity has been a topic not only for the scientific community but also for writers of travel, science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, and utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

n novels.

There are many difficulties in authenticating the longest human life span
Maximum life span
Maximum life span is a measure of the maximum amount of time one or more members of a population has been observed to survive between birth and death.Most living species have at least one upper limit on the number of times cells can divide...

 ever by modern verification standards, owing to inaccurate or incomplete birth statistics. Fiction, legend, and folklore have proposed or claimed life spans in the past or future vastly longer than those verified by modern standards, and longevity narratives and unverified longevity claims
Longevity claims
Longevity claims assert extreme human longevity. Those asserting lifespans of 110 years or more are referred to as supercentenarian. Many have either no official verification or are backed only by partial evidence...

 frequently speak of their existence in the present.

A life annuity
Life annuity
A life annuity is a financial contract in the form of an insurance product according to which a seller — typically a financial institution such as a life insurance company — makes a series of future payments to a buyer in exchange for the immediate payment of a lump sum or a series...

 is a form of longevity insurance
Longevity insurance
Longevity insurance, insuring longevity, is an annuity contract designed to pay to the policyholder a benefit if he or she survives to a pre-established future age....



A remarkable statement mentioned by Diogenes Laertius
Diogenes Laertius
Diogenes Laertius was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is one of the principal surviving sources for the history of Greek philosophy.-Life:Nothing is definitively known about his life...

 (c. 250 AD) is the earliest (or at least one of the earliest) references about plausible centenarian longevity given by a scientist, the astronomer Hipparchus
Hipparchus, the common Latinization of the Greek Hipparkhos, can mean:* Hipparchus, the ancient Greek astronomer** Hipparchic cycle, an astronomical cycle he created** Hipparchus , a lunar crater named in his honour...

 of Nicea (c. 185 – c. 120 BC), who, according to the doxographer, was assured that the philosopher Democritus of Abdera (c. 470/460 – c. 370/360 BC) lived 109 years. All other accounts given by the ancients about the age of Democritus appear, without giving any specific age, to agree that the philosopher lived over 100 years. This possibility is likely, given that many ancient Greek philosophers are thought to have lived over the age of 90 (e.g., Xenophanes of Colophon, c. 570/565 – c. 475/470 BC, Pyrrho
Pyrrho , a Greek philosopher of classical antiquity, is credited as being the first Skeptic philosopher and the inspiration for the school known as Pyrrhonism, founded by Aenesidemus in the 1st century BC.- Life :Pyrrho was from Elis, on the Ionian Sea...

 of Ellis, c. 360 – c. 270 BC, Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, poet, athlete, geographer, astronomer, and music theorist.He was the first person to use the word "geography" and invented the discipline of geography as we understand it...

 of Cirene, c. 285 – c. 190 BC, etc.). The case of Democritus is different from the case of, for example, Epimenides
Epimenides of Knossos was a semi-mythical 6th century BC Greek seer and philosopher-poet. While tending his father's sheep, he is said to have fallen asleep for fifty-seven years in a Cretan cave sacred to Zeus, after which he reportedly awoke with the gift of prophecy...

 of Crete (7th, 6th centuries BC), who is said to have lived 154, 157 or 290 years, as has been said about countless elders even during the last centuries as well as in the present time. These cases are not verifiable by modern means.

Present life expectancy

Various factors contribute to an individual's longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

, genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, access to health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

, hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

, diet and nutrition
Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

, exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. Below is a list of life expectancies in different types of countries:
  • First World
    First World
    The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

    : 77–83 years (e.g. Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    : 81.29 years, 2010 est.)
  • Third World
    Third World
    The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

    : 32–80 years (e.g. Mozambique
    Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

    : 41.37 years, 2010 est.)

Population longevities are increasing as life expectancies around the world grow:
  • Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    : 79.08 years in 2002, 81.07 years in 2010
  • Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    : 80 years in 2002, 81.72 years in 2010
  • Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    : 79.25 years in 2002, 80.33 years in 2010
  • France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    : 79.05 years in 2002, 81.09 years in 2010
  • Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    : 77.78 years in 2002, 79.41 years in 2010
  • UK
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    : 77.99 years in 2002, 79.92 years in 2010
  • USA
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    : 77.4 years in 2002, 78.24 years in 2010

Long-lived individuals

The Gerontology Research Group
Gerontology Research Group
The Gerontology Research Group was started in 1990, and is a global eGroup of researchers in gerontology, some of who also meet monthly at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. The primary function of the group is to further gerontology research, with the objective of reversing or retarding aging...

 validates current longevity records by modern standards, and maintains a list of supercentenarians; many other unvalidated longevity claims
Longevity claims
Longevity claims assert extreme human longevity. Those asserting lifespans of 110 years or more are referred to as supercentenarian. Many have either no official verification or are backed only by partial evidence...

 exist. Record-holding individuals include:
  • Jeanne Calment
    Jeanne Calment
    Jeanne Louise Calment was a French supercentenarian who had the longest confirmed human life span in history, living to the age of . She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, and outlived both her daughter and grandson. She became especially well known from the age of 113, when the...

     (1875–1997, 122 years, 164 days): the oldest person in history whose age has been verified by modern documentation. This defines the modern human life span
    Maximum life span
    Maximum life span is a measure of the maximum amount of time one or more members of a population has been observed to survive between birth and death.Most living species have at least one upper limit on the number of times cells can divide...

    , which is set by the oldest documented individual who ever lived.
  • Sarah Knauss
    Sarah Knauss
    Sarah DeRemer Knauss was an American supercentenarian considered the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records from April 16, 1998, the date of the death of 117-year-old Canadian Marie-Louise Meilleur, until her own death...

     (1880–1999, 119 years, 97 days): The second oldest documented person in modern times and the oldest American.
  • Christian Mortensen
    Christian Mortensen
    Thomas Peter Thorvald Kristian Ferdinand Mortensen , known as an adult as Christian Mortensen, was a Danish supercentenarian. At the time of his death he was 115 years and 252 days old—the longest fully authenticated lifespan of any male in history...

     (1882–1998, 115 years, 252 days): the oldest man in history whose age has been verified by modern documentation.
  • Besse Cooper
    Besse Cooper
    Besse Berry Cooper is an American supercentenarian. After the death of the Brazilian supercentenarian Maria Gomes Valentim on June 21, 2011, Cooper became the world's oldest living person...

     (1896–): Celebrated her 115th birthday in August 2011, currently the oldest living person.

Longevity and lifestyle

Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Twin studies have estimated that approximately 20-30% of an individual’s lifespan is related to genetics, the rest is due to individual behaviors and environmental factors which can be modified.In addition, it found that lifestyle plays almost no factor in health and longevity after the age of 80, and that almost everything in advanced age is due to genetic factors.

In preindustrial times, deaths at young and middle age were common, and lifespans over 70 years were comparatively rare. This is not due to genetics, but because of environmental factors such as disease, accidents, and malnutrition, especially since the former were not generally treatable with pre-20th century medicine. Deaths from childbirth were common in women, and many children did not live past infancy. In addition, most people who did attain old age were likely to die quickly from the above-mentioned untreatable health problems. Despite this, we do find numerous examples of pre-20th century individuals attaining lifespans of 75 years or greater, including Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, Cato the Elder
Cato the Elder
Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman, commonly referred to as Censorius , Sapiens , Priscus , or Major, Cato the Elder, or Cato the Censor, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger.He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some...

, Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

, and Michaelangelo.

For example, an 1871 census in the UK (the first of its kind) found the average male life expectancy as being 44, but if infant mortality is subtracted, males who lived to adulthood averaged 75 years. The present male life expectancy in the UK is 77 years for males and 81 for females (the United States averages 74 for males and 80 for females).

Studies have shown that African-American males have the shortest lifespans of any group of people in the US, averaging only 69 years (white females average the longest). This reflects overall poorer health and greater prevalence of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer among African-American men.

Women normally outlive men, and this was as true in pre-industrial times as today. Theories for this include smaller bodies (and thus less stress on the heart), a stronger immune system (since testosterone acts as an immunosuppressant), and less tendency to engage in physically dangerous activities. It is also theorized that women have an evolutionary reason to live longer so as to help care for grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Study of the regions of the world known as blue zones
Blue Zone
A Blue Zone is a region of the world where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years. Scientists and demographers have classified these longevity hot-spots by having common healthy traits and life practices that result in higher-than-normal longevity.The name Blue Zone seems to...

, where people commonly live active lives past 100 years of age, have speculated that longevity is related to a healthy social and family life, not smoking, eating a plant-based diet, frequent consumption of legumes and nuts, and engaging in regular physical activity. In another well-designed cohort study, the combination of a plant based diet, frequent consumption of nuts, regular physical activity, normal BMI, and not smoking accounted for differences up to 10 years in life expectancy. The Alameda County Study hypothesized three additional lifestyle characteristics that promote longevity: limiting alcohol consumption, sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night, and not snacking (eating between meals).

Longevity traditions

Longevity traditions are traditions about long-lived people (generally supercentenarian
A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110 years. This age is achieved by about one in a thousand centenarians....

s), and practices that have been believed to confer longevity. A comparison and contrast of "longevity in antiquity" (such as the Sumerian King List
Sumerian king list
The Sumerian King List is an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer from Sumerian and neighboring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of "official" kingship...

, the genealogies of Genesis
Genealogies of Genesis
The genealogies of Genesis record the descendants of Adam and Eve to Abraham, including the age at which each patriarch fathered his named son and the number of years he lived thereafter. The genealogy contains two branches: for Cain, given in Chapter 4, and for Seth in Chapter 5...

, and the Persian Shahnameh
The Shahnameh or Shah-nama is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c.977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of Iran and related societies...

) with "longevity in historical times" (common-era cases through twentieth-century news reports) is elaborated in detail in Lucian Boia
Lucian Boia
Lucian Boia is a Romanian historian, known especially for his works debunking Romanian nationalism and Communism.-Bibliography:* Eugen Brote: Litera, 1974...

's 2004 book Forever Young: A Cultural History of Longevity from Antiquity to the Present and other sources.

The Fountain of Youth
Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted across the world for thousands of years, appearing in writings by Herodotus, the Alexander romance, and the stories of Prester John...

 reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, following older Jewish tradition, attributes healing to the Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda
The Pool of Bethesda is a pool of water in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, on the path of the Beth Zeta Valley. The Gospel of John describes such a pool in Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. It is associated with healing. Until the 19th century, there...

 when the waters are "stirred" by an angel. After the death of Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named...

, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo
Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo
Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés was a Spanish historian and writer. He is commonly known as "Oviedo" even though his family name is Fernández. He participated in the Spanish colonization of the Caribbean, and wrote a long chronicle of this project which is one of the few primary sources about...

 wrote in Historia General y Natural de las Indias (1535) that Ponce de León was looking for the waters of Bimini
Bimini is the westernmost district of the Bahamas composed of a chain of islands located about 53 miles due east of Miami, Florida. Bimini is the closest point in the Bahamas to the mainland United States and approximately 137 miles west-northwest of Nassau...

 to cure his aging. Traditions that have been believed to confer greater human longevity also include alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

, such as that attributed to Nicolas Flamel. In the modern era, the Okinawa diet
Okinawa diet
The Okinawa diet is a nutrient-rich, low-calorie dietfrom the indigenous people of the Ryūkyū Islands. In addition, a commercially promoted weight-loss diet has also been made based on this standard diet of the Islanders....

 has some reputation of linkage to exceptionally high ages.

More recent longevity claims
Longevity claims
Longevity claims assert extreme human longevity. Those asserting lifespans of 110 years or more are referred to as supercentenarian. Many have either no official verification or are backed only by partial evidence...

 are subcategorized by many editions of Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records , is a reference book published annually, containing a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world...

into four groups: "In late life, very old people often tend to advance their ages at the rate of about 17 years per decade .... Several celebrated super-centenarians (over 110 years) are believed to have been double lives (father and son, relations with the same names or successive bearers of a title) .... A number of instances have been commercially sponsored, while a fourth category of recent claims are those made for political ends ...." The estimate of 17 years per decade was corroborated by the 1901 and 1911 British censuses. Mazess and Forman also discovered in 1978 that inhabitants of Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Vilcabamba is a village in the southern region of Ecuador, in the Loja province, about from the city of Loja. The etymology of the “Vilcabamba” apparently derives from the Quichua “huilco pamba.” Huilco denotes the sacred trees, Anadenanthera colubrina, that inhabit the region and pamba is a...

, claimed excessive longevity by using their fathers' and grandfathers' baptismal entries. Time magazine considered that, by the Soviet Union, longevity had been elevated to a state-supported "Methuselah cult". Robert L. Ripley regularly reported supercentenarian claims in Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Ripley's Believe It or Not! is a franchise, founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims...

, usually citing his own reputation as a fact-checker to claim reliability.


The U.S. Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

 view on the future of longevity is that life expectancy in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 will be in the mid-80s by 2050 (up from 77.85 in 2006) and will top out eventually in the low 90s, barring major scientific advances that can change the rate of human aging itself, as opposed to merely treating the effects of aging as is done today. The Census Bureau also predicted that the United States would have 5.3 million people aged over 100 in 2100. The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 has also made projections far out into the future, up to 2300, at which point it projects that life expectancies in most developed countries will be between 100 and 106 years and still rising, though more and more slowly than before. These projections also suggest that life expectancies in poor countries will still be less than those in rich countries in 2300, in some cases by as much as 20 years. The UN itself mentioned that gaps in life expectancy so far in the future may well not exist, especially since the exchange of technology between rich and poor countries and the industrialization and development of poor countries may cause their life expectancies to converge fully with those of rich countries long before that point, similarly to the way life expectancies between rich and poor countries have already been converging over the last 60 years as better medicine, technology, and living conditions became accessible to many people in poor countries. The UN has warned that these projections are uncertain, and cautions that any change or advancement in medical technology could invalidate such projections.

Recent increases in the rates of lifestyle diseases
Lifestyle diseases
Lifestyle diseases are diseases that appear to increase in frequency as countries become more industrialized and people live longer...

, such as obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

, diabetes
Diabetes mellitus type 2
Diabetes mellitus type 2formerly non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetesis a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Diabetes is often initially managed by increasing exercise and...

, hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and...

, and heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

, may drastically slow or reverse this trend toward increasing life expectancy in the developed world.

Scientist Olshansky examined how much mortality from various causes would have to drop in order to boost life expectancy and concluded that most of the past increases in life expectancy occurred because of improved survival rates for young people. He states that is seems unlikely that life expectancy at birth will ever exceed 85 years.

However, since 1840, record life expectancy has risen linear
In mathematics, a linear map or function f is a function which satisfies the following two properties:* Additivity : f = f + f...

ly for men and women, albeit more slowly for men. For women the increase has been almost three months per year. In light of steady increase, without any sign of limitation, the suggestion that life expectancy will top out must be treated with caution. Scientists Oeppen and Vaupel observe that experts who assert that "life expectancy is approaching a ceiling ... have repeatedly been proven wrong." It is thought that life expectancy for women has increased more dramatically owing to the considerable advances in medicine related to childbirth.

Some argue that molecular nanotechnology
Molecular nanotechnology
Molecular nanotechnology is a technology based on the ability to build structures to complex, atomic specifications by means of mechanosynthesis. This is distinct from nanoscale materials...

 will greatly extend human life spans. If the rate of increase of life span can be raised with these technologies to a level of twelve months increase per year, this is defined as effective biological immortality
Biological immortality
Biological immortality refers to a stable rate of mortality as a function of chronological age. Some individual cells and entire organisms in some species achieve this state either throughout their existence or after living long enough. This requires that death occur from injury or disease rather...

 and is the goal of radical life extension.

Non-human biological longevity

Currently living:
  • Methuselah
    Methuselah (tree)
    Methuselah is a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree growing high in the White Mountains of Inyo County in eastern California. Its measured age of 4,842 years makes it the world's oldest known living non-clonal organism...

    : 4,800-year-old bristlecone pine
    Bristlecone pine
    The bristlecone pines are a small group of pine trees that are thought to reach an age far greater than that of any other single living organism known, up to nearly 5,000 years....

     in the White Mountains of California
    White Mountains (California)
    The White Mountains of California are a triangular fault block mountain range facing the Sierra Nevada across the upper Owens Valley. They extend for approximately as a greatly elevated plateau about wide on the south, narrowing to a point at the north, with elevations generally increasing...

    , the oldest currently living organism known.

  • Possibly 250 million year-old bacteria, bacillus permians, were revived from stasis after being found in sodium chloride crystals in a cavern in New Mexico. Russell Vreeland, and colleagues from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, reported on October 18, 2000 that they had revived the halobacteria
    In taxonomy, the Halobacteria are a class of the Euryarchaeota, found in water saturated or nearly saturated with salt. They are also called halophiles, though this name is also used for other organisms which live in somewhat less concentrated salt water...

     after bathing them with a nutrient solution. Having survived for 250 million years, they are the oldest living organisms ever recorded. However, their findings have not been universally accepted.
  • A bristlecone pine
    Bristlecone pine
    The bristlecone pines are a small group of pine trees that are thought to reach an age far greater than that of any other single living organism known, up to nearly 5,000 years....

     nicknamed "Prometheus"
    Prometheus (tree)
    Prometheus was the oldest known non-clonal organism, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree growing near the tree line on Wheeler Peak in eastern Nevada, United States...

    , felled in the Great Basin National Park
    Great Basin National Park
    Great Basin National Park is a United States National Park established in 1986, located in east-central Nevada near the Utah border. The park derives its name from the Great Basin, the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains. Topographically, this area is...

     in Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

     in 1964, found to be about 4,900 years old, is the longest-lived single organism known.
  • A quahog clam
    Arctica islandica
    Arctica islandica, commonly known as the ocean quahog, is an edible marine bivalve mollusk native to the North Atlantic ocean, which is harvested commercially...

     (Arctica islandica), dredged from off the coast of Iceland
    Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

     in 2007, was found to be from 400 to 410 years old, the oldest animal documented. Other clams of the species have been recorded as living up to 374 years.
  • Lamellibrachia
    Lamellibrachia is a genus of tube worms related to the giant tube worm, Riftia pachyptila. It lives at deep-sea cold seeps where hydrocarbons are leaking out of the seafloor. It is entirely reliant on internal, sulfide-oxidizing bacterial symbionts for its nutrition.L...

    , a deep-sea cold-seep tubeworm, is estimated to reach ages of over 250 years based on a model of its growth rates.
  • Hanako (Koi Fish) was the longest-lived vertebrate ever recorded at 226 years.
  • A Bowhead Whale
    Bowhead Whale
    The bowhead whale is a baleen whale of the right whale family Balaenidae in suborder Mysticeti. A stocky dark-colored whale without a dorsal fin, it can grow to in length. This thick-bodied species can weigh to , second only to the blue whale, although the bowhead's maximum length is less than...

     killed in a hunt was found to be approximately 211 years old (possibly up to 245 years old), the longest lived mammal known.
  • Tu'i Malila
    Tu'i Malila
    right|thumb|200px||A photo of the tortoise's preserved body, 2003.Tu'i Malila was a tortoise given to the royal family of Tonga by Captain James Cook. It was a radiated tortoise from Madagascar and is the second longest-lived tortoise whose age has been verified.The name means King Malila in the...

    , a radiated tortoise
    Radiated Tortoise
    The radiated tortoise is a species in the family Testudinidae. Although this species is native to and most abundant in southern Madagascar, it can be also be found in the rest of this island, and has been introduced to the islands of Réunion and Mauritius...

     presented to the Tonga
    Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

    n royal family by Captain Cook, lived for over 185 years. It is the oldest documented reptile. Adwaitya, an Aldabra Giant Tortoise
    Aldabra Giant Tortoise
    The Aldabra giant tortoise , from the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world....

    , may have lived for up to 250 years.

Biological Immortality

Certain exotic organisms do not seem to be subject to aging and can live indefinitely. Examples include Tardigrades and Hydras
Hydra (genus)
Hydra is a genus of simple fresh-water animal possessing radial symmetry. Hydras are predatory animals belonging to the phylum Cnidaria and the class Hydrozoa. They can be found in most unpolluted fresh-water ponds, lakes, and streams in the temperate and tropical regions and can be found by...

. That is not to say that these organisms cannot die, merely that they only die as a result of disease or injury rather than age-related deterioration (and that they are not subject to the Hayflick limit
Hayflick limit
The Hayflick limit is the number of times a normal cell population will divide before it stops, presumably because the telomeres reach a critical length....


See also

  • Actuarial Science
    Actuarial science
    Actuarial science is the discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified in this field through education and experience...

  • Alliance for Aging Research
    Alliance for Aging Research
    The Alliance for Aging Research is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that was founded to promote medical research to improve the human experience of aging. The Alliance also advocates and implements health education for consumers and health professionals.The Alliance is governed...

  • Biodemography
    Biodemography is the science dealing with the integration of biology and demography.Biodemography is a new branch of human demography concerned with understanding the complementary biological and demographic determinants of and interactions between the birth and death processes that shape...

  • Biodemography of human longevity
    Biodemography of human longevity
    Biodemography is a multidisciplinary approach, integrating biological knowledge with demographic research on human longevity and survival...

  • Calorie restriction
    Calorie restriction
    Caloric restriction , or calorie restriction, is a dietary regimen that restricts calorie intake, where the baseline for the restriction varies, usually being the previous, unrestricted, intake of the subjects...

  • List of centenarians
    A centenarian is a person who is or lives beyond the age of 100 years. Because current average life expectancies across the world are less than 100, the term is invariably associated with longevity. Much rarer, a supercentenarian is a person who has lived to the age of 110 or more, something only...

  • DNA damage theory of aging
    DNA damage theory of aging
    The DNA damage theory of aging proposes that aging is a consequence of unrepaired DNA damage accumulation. Damage in this context includes chemical reactions that mutate DNA and/or interfere with DNA replication. Although both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA damage can contribute to aging, nuclear...

  • Gerontology Research Group
    Gerontology Research Group
    The Gerontology Research Group was started in 1990, and is a global eGroup of researchers in gerontology, some of who also meet monthly at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. The primary function of the group is to further gerontology research, with the objective of reversing or retarding aging...

  • Hayflick limit
    Hayflick limit
    The Hayflick limit is the number of times a normal cell population will divide before it stops, presumably because the telomeres reach a critical length....

  • Indefinite lifespan
    Indefinite lifespan
    Indefinite lifespan or, indefinite life extension, is a term used in the life extension movement to refer to the longevity of humans, and other life-forms, under conditions in which aging can be effectively and completely prevented and treated. Such individuals would still be susceptible to...

  • Life extension
    Life extension
    Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan...

  • List of last survivors of historical events
  • Lloyd Demetrius
    Lloyd Demetrius
    Lloyd A. Demetrius is a mathematician and theoretical biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics at Berlin, Germany, and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary biology, Harvard University...

  • Maximum life span
    Maximum life span
    Maximum life span is a measure of the maximum amount of time one or more members of a population has been observed to survive between birth and death.Most living species have at least one upper limit on the number of times cells can divide...

  • Methuselah Foundation
    Methuselah Foundation
    The Methuselah Foundation studies methods of extending lifespan. It is a non-profit 501 volunteer organization, co-founded by Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel, which is based in Springfield, Virginia, United States...

  • Mitohormesis
  • Oldest viable seed
    Oldest viable seed
    -Carbon dated:*The oldest carbon-14-dated seed that has grown into a viable plant was a Judean date palm seed about 2,000 years old, recovered from excavations at Herod the Great's palace on Masada in Israel. It was germinated in 2005...

  • Reliability theory of aging and longevity
    Reliability theory of aging and longevity
    Reliability theory of aging and longevity is a scientific approach aimed to gain theoretical insights into mechanisms of biological aging and species survival patterns by applying a general theory of systems failure, known as reliability theory.-Overview:...

  • Research into centenarians
    Research into centenarians
    A centenarian is a person who has attained the age of 100 years or more. Research on centenarians is becoming increasingly widespread with clinical and general population studies now having been conducted in France, Hungary, Japan, Italy, Finland, Denmark, the United States, and China. Centenarians...

  • Resveratrol
    Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi....

  • Senescence
    Senescence or biological aging is the change in the biology of an organism as it ages after its maturity. Such changes range from those affecting its cells and their function to those affecting the whole organism...

  • Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence

External links

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