From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or to connote "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, and utopian novels.
There are many difficulties in authenticating the longest human life span 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 frequently speak of their existence in the present.
A remarkable statement mentioned by Diogenes Laertius (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 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 of Ellis, c. 360 – c. 270 BC, Eratosthenes of Cirene, c. 285 – c. 190 BC, etc.). The case of Democritus is different from the case of, for example, Epimenides 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.
- Actuarial Science
- Alliance for Aging Research
- Biodemography of human longevity
- Calorie restriction
- List of centenarians
- DNA damage theory of aging
- Hayflick limit
- How Not to Die: Surprising Lessons on Living Longer, Safer, and Healthier from America’s Favorite Medical Examiner (book)
- Indefinite lifespan
- Life extension
- List of last survivors of historical events
- Lloyd Demetrius
- Maximum life span
- Methuselah Foundation
- Oldest viable seed
- Reliability theory of aging and longevity
- Research into centenarians
- Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence