Posted by: Marc Cappelletti | October 17, 2008

Newsflash: Time Causes an Increase in Age

I’m turning 28 this weekend. No big deal, I thought. With a world lifespan of 66 years I should be just part of the way into a pretty decent run. Then I came across this chart (courtesy of Wikipedia) and I realized that 28 is a big deal, or at least it used to be. Apparently, with this birthday of mine, I would be reaching the peak of senior citizenship in all but two eras listed. In ancient Rome and Greece I would be refered to as “old dude.” Little known fact: Pliny the Elder was 19 and living with his mother when he died. Looking back through time, I would be the Abe Vigota of the Bronze Age; the Moses of Medeival Britain.

Humans by Era

Average Lifespan at Birth (years)

Neanderthal

20

Upper Paleolithic

33

Neolithic

20

Bronze Age

18

Classical Greece

20-30

Classical Rome

20-30

Pre-Columbian North America

25-35

Medieval Britain

20-30

Early 20th Century

30-40

Current world average

66.12 (2008 est.)

How incredibly the advent of modern medicine has changed life expectancy for those off us fortunate enough to have access. It’s something to be celebrated. So this year, instead of toasting myself, I’ll be toasting Penicillin, Preventile inhalers, Amoxacilin, and all the meds that have put me squarely in the percentile of “youthful,” instead of the “old guy with the saggy toga who sits on his front porch widdling wooden chariots and complaining about the empire.”

It’s going to be a party.

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