Can we expect any time soon a break in the longest lifespan record set by Jeanne Calment? And what does it teach us about human longevity?
New paper from our Anthony Medford and Jim Vaupel in PlosOne
Jeanne Calment died in 1997 at the age of 122 with the dual distinctions of being the oldest verified human and the only person to attain a lifespan of at least 120 years. More than two decades later we see more and more centenarians, but none of them close to breaking her record. Naturally we wonder when, or if ever, this might be broken. The chances of her record being broken offer insights into whether the maximum human lifespan has been reached. If the chances are getting higher, we may yet see those limits pushed further. A new study by Anthony Medford and Jim Vaupel from the University of Southern Denmark uses specific tools of Records Theory to determine how long Mrs. Calment’s record might stand and whether it is truly exceptional. The researchers find that the occurrence of the record was not all that surprising, but its persistence is. They estimated a 25 % chance that the record would survive until now and around one in five chance that it will survive until 2050. The authors conclude that while there is little evidence for a challenger to Jeanne Calment’s record in the coming decades, the length of Jeanne Calment’s lifespan - though remarkable - is certainly not improbable.