72 is the New 30?

So says Discovery News. It's a pretty simple argument based on how likely you are to die in the coming year at any particular age:

"In terms of the probability you'll live through the year, it's astronomical the improvement that we've made," said Oskar Burger, an evolutionary anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany. 
"The probability that you'll live through the year in our evolutionary past that was experienced at age 30 or even 20 is now typical of people who are 70," he added. "Seventy-two is the new 30."
The linked article touts the Industrial Revolution as the primary benefactor, here, and I certainly won't argue with the impact that improvements in sanitation, nutrition, housing, clothing, and medicine -- all that have come about over the past two centuries as part of the Industrial or Post-Industrial Age -- have had on expanding human life span. But I would add that the ongoing decrease in human violence over the decades, as documented by Stephen Pinker in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, has also had a part to play.

The most encouraging aspect of this analysis is that we have made this tremendous progress without yet doing much (if anything) about the actual problem of aging. We can continue the arc of progress against death from disease and other causes, but there is always that wall out there at the 120-year mark.

When 119 is the new 30 -- that's when we'll know something has fundamentally changed.


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