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October 20 2012

"Seventy-two Is the New 30": Why Are We Living So Much Longer?

A 72-year-old in today's Japan has the same odds of dying as a 30-year-old in the preindustrial world. That's the startling conclusion of a new study that gauges just how far the death rate has fallen in industrialized countries in recent centuries. "In other words," the researchers write, " ... 72 is the new 30."

Humans nowadays survive much longer than our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, which rarely live past 50. Even hunter-gatherers—who often lack the advanced nutrition, modern medicine, and other benefits of industrialized living—have twice the life expectancy at birth as wild chimpanzees.

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