We see a lot of movies and books with humans(or near human creatures) that live for hundreds of years. I've seen numbers for long lasting human ranged from 150 all the way up to 7000( and I'm sure that number is higher). Lets say I want to make an average human live for 200 years. What changes need to be met to allow this to work.


2 Answers 2


According to Richard Dawkins, there's nothing inherent in the human body that causes senescence. It's just that there has never been any evolutionary pressure towards longer living humans.

So the "fix" would be to forbid anyone from reproduce until they reached the age of 30 years or so. As the species began evolving from this artificial selection pressure, you'd gradually increase the minimum required breeding age.

This would not be difficult to accomplish from a technological perspective. However, it would be devilishly difficult to implement from a sociological/political perspective.

I couldn't find the direct reference but I did find this very similar question and answer on the biology stack exchange

I think this would probably work. The grandmother effect, which is one of the main theories for human longevity after fertility might indicate that human lifespan would increase if the children come later.


The Belyaev experiments which produced domesticated foxes by strong selective breeding took some 30ish generations to complete though they saw a significant effect in just 10. It could take a similar numbers of selection rounds in this cse. 4-500 years. Ethical issues aside, this is why most geneticists study flies.

Just have to disclaim here: We will never do this. Many unthinkable consequences would result.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, even if we could implement eugenics to increase human lifespan, most people wouldn't want to pay for it since it won't actually help them live longer. 4-500 years is a long time to wait for results. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2015 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ Wishful thinking - reality-check time now! About those telomeres, looks like at each cell division, the telomere ends become shorter, so that a cell can divide only a certain number of times before the things get awry and the result is either a non-viable cell or a cancerous one. It may well be that the human beings have to choose between a "chance of longer life spans ending with terminal cancer" or "smaller senescence age, die cancer free" $\endgroup$ Mar 11, 2020 at 8:52

Well, mimic cancer. Scientists have found out that cancerous growths, despite multiplying like crazy, do not suffer aging, that's because your DNA has two protective ends that are reduced gradually as your cells divide, called telomeres, which serve as a way to determine how long it will live. In cancer cells, however, the enzymes that produce/"regenerate" this protection is off the charts, meaning it doesn't really age. Also I'd add that having more efficient ways to maintain the DNA would ensure the cells could go on for a loong time. However, should you want to reach thousands of years of age, the next main issue would be what makes them sapient: the brain. You see, unfortunately, the brain does not have infinite storage space, though apparently, unless my sources are incorrect, it does have space enough for 300 years of existence before you're basically incapable of coherent thought. How to bypass this? Forget about it, litteraly. The humans would need to have a brain that selects a lot more what to keep and what to throw away. In this case, you could have a race of humans with a love of notes and photographs serving as a means to stimulate certain memories they want to keep for longer periods. (sorry if some part of this is incorrect, I don't know as much regarding the brain and how it deals with memories)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .