Rebecca Watson wrote a new post, Is the "Natural Human Lifespan" Only 37?? The Daily Mail vs Science, on the site Skepchick 3 months ago
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In my live science trivia show Quiz-o-Tron I used to always end with a round […]
It’s bizarre they confused “max” for “avg”. And really, by now if you do a study like that, you’d expect – from many years of anecdotes at least – to expect an answer somewhere around 120 years. It wouldn’t mean that 120 or very nearby is the definitive answer, but it’d be a red flag needing much more evidence if it fell far from there.
But again, “max” as “avg”. How is it even possible to do that, since all you need to know to know that the avg isn’t the max is to know or have heard of a single person over that average age. It doesn’t even need study or much data; you turn on any show with Betty White or Bob Newhart on it, think for a moment, and you’re on the corrected path. How did they manage to avoid making those obvious connections?
The data on humans that the researchers discarded seems to be pretty close. The oldest documented human was Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 years, 164 days. That’s pretty close to the 120 years that their study estimated was the max natural lifespan.