Biological evolution has been traditionally viewed as due to mutations in genes. However this kind of evolution can require hundreds of thousands or millions of years to take hold Now we know that evolution can happen much faster, in as little as a few generations. Further, I see the human species as evolving very fast in the direction of longer lifespans, with the average lifespan from birth in the US and advanced countries increasing about 4 hours each day that goes by.
Please view this short video segment. And then comment on us humans evolving to live longer. And also comment on how interesting and useful you find this video kind of communication compared to the usual text-based blog entries found here.
I have suggested that the rapid kind of evolution involved is epigenetic evolution which moves far faster than Darwinian genetic evolution. It is the kind of evolution that has allowed us to grow taller in just a few generations and that is leading to our ever-longer average lifespans. See the blog entries US falling behind in longevity increases – why?, Social evolution and biological evolution – another dialog with Marios Kyriazis, and a more-technical presentation Stochastic epigenetic evolution – a new and different theory of evolution, aging and disease susceptibility.
This blog entry and several subsequent ones including short video segments on longevity science are being brought to you in close collaboration with Robert Kane Pappas. Pappas is the filmmaker who produced the recently-released film To Age or Not to Age. Pappas captured hundreds of hours of interesting video in shooting the film over a 4-year period, including extensive interviews with a number of prominent aging-science researchers. It was possible to incorporate only a small fraction of that interesting material in the film itself. However, Robert will be identifying short interesting segments of materials both in the film and not in the film, and I will be remarking on them just as in this blog entry. The same videos and my same remarks will appear on both this site and on the film site To Age or Not to Age.
Readers/viewers – please share your reactions in comments. What do you think are the implications of us living longer lives? Are we like the opossums? And what is your reaction to this kind of blog entry? Would you like to see more of them?
I agree with what is in the video except for the last statement by Dr. Austad. “Evolution doesn’t care how long you live. Evolution cares about how many kids you leave, that’s all.” Evolution clearly does care that we live long enough to raise our kids until they are independent – that has been accepted for a very long time. Moreover, evolution caring is why the island opossums evolved to live twice as long. And evolution caring is why evolution has been extending our lifespans since the dawn of history. And that caring is why our average lifespans are increasing in the US two months for every year that passes right now. Perhaps the point Dr. Austad is trying to make is that there is nothing about the process of evolution that sets an arbitrary limit on our lifespan, and I would certainly agree with that.
If you’re going to be posting videos, please find a way to provide English subtitles for older folks.
Hi Machine Ghost.
It would be nice to do that but I am not sure it will be easy. In any event, the written discussions along each such blog entry should be complete in themselves.
i guess we should embrace the fact that all of us will age through time. and it would be best if we keep this awareness awake all of the time. we will all become old, its not that complicated.
Alas, I have to agree with you that as far as history goes we have always aged and that each of us will surely die in a cosmic nanonanosecond from one cause or another. This is our time, when we are alive.
I point out, however, that in the US and other advanced countries we are ever aging slower and living longer. Average life span from birth is increasing by about 5 hours with every day that goes by. And that there is a possibility – only a possibility but a good one – of slowing, stopping and even reversing aspects of aging as we know it.
even if people are living longer, this does not mean that they are happy about it. most of them suffer from certain diseases which would have been unnecessary if they were only living a healthy lifestyle. medication can indeed to something but we cannot ignore the suffering is something you cannot end when you on a certain type of medical condition.
To best anti aging
Thanks for your comments. I believe that the research supports that with lengthening average lifespan:
* There is also lengthening average healthspan, and
* The average ratio of good healthy years lived to total years lived is also increasing.
That having been said, I suspect we are quite in agreement that living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to increase both healthspan and liestyle. Too much emphasis is being devoted to end-of-life medical interventions that buy very little additional time vs interventions for healthy people that help keep them healthy and going much longer. Drugs viewed as a breakthrough because they can add 1-2 months to the life of people expiring because they have certain cancers can be valuable for those people. But if the cancer was avoidable in the first place, additional years or decades of good life might have been possible.