The emergence of longevous populations.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The human lifespan has traversed a long evolutionary and historical path, from short-lived primate ancestors to contemporary Japan, Sweden, and other longevity frontrunners. Analyzing this trajectory is crucial for understanding biological and sociocultural processes that determine the span of life. Here we reveal a fundamental regularity. Two straight lines describe the joint rise of life expectancy and lifespan equality: one for primates and the second one over the full range of human experience from average lifespans as low as 2 y during mortality crises to more than 87 y for Japanese women today. Across the primate order and across human populations, the lives of females tend to be longer and less variable than the lives of males, suggesting deep evolutionary roots to the male disadvantage. Our findings cast fresh light on primate evolution and human history, opening directions for research on inequality, sociality, and aging.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Colchero, F; Rau, R; Jones, OR; Barthold, JA; Conde, DA; Lenart, A; Nemeth, L; Scheuerlein, A; Schoeley, J; Torres, C; Zarulli, V; Altmann, J; Brockman, DK; Bronikowski, AM; Fedigan, LM; Pusey, AE; Stoinski, TS; Strier, KB; Baudisch, A; Alberts, SC; Vaupel, JW

Published Date

  • November 21, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 113 / 48

Start / End Page

  • E7681 - E7690

PubMed ID

  • 27872299

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5137748

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.1612191113


  • eng