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Ageing Throughout History: The Evolution of Human Lifespan.

It is not surprising that one of the most complex phenomena in nature is that of ageing. It does not only bear biological interest, but it is also associated with cultural, psychological, social and even philosophical issues. It is therefore to be expected that a great deal of research is being performed in order to study the evolution of ageing and, more specifically, the evolution of human ageing. Historical aspects of this evolution will be discussed. Evidence from a variety of sources shows that the human lifespan is increasing, and may well continue to increase to levels that are difficult to predict. In addition, the most important theories about ageing based on evolutionary principles will be examined. Examples are mutation accumulation, antagonistic pleiotropy and the disposable soma theory. Finally, a section about future evolution of human ageing, based upon newly emerging research, will shed some light and provide speculative-provocative ideas about the future of ageing in humans.

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