WoD – The Avg. Life Expectancy of a Neanderthal

What was the average life expectancy of a Neanderthal?  Ok I checked – it was about 30 years, and they lived until as recently as ~40,000 years ago.  What about people like 4,000 years ago?

So here’s what I am thinking about today — from an evolutionary perspective, we were never meant to live nearly as long as we do these days.  I mean, it’s only been in the past few thousands of years that our life has lengthened so dramatically, right?  And remember, from an evolutionary perspective, these past 4,000 years is a tiny sliver of time.  (Just saw in Wikipedia that life expectancy in ancient Egypt ~4,000 years ago was ~35 for men, and even less for women.  This is skewed by the heavy losses at birth, but still… )

So in only ~4,000 years, the life expectancy of our entire species has gone from something like 35 to now something like 82 (and this is even heavily skewed towards the last few hundred), whereas in the preceding 40,000 years it only changed by maybe 5 years in length.  Amazing!  And I think this current pace we are on will continue indefinitely (i.e. we will increase our average life expectancy by one year, every four years.)

A related thought (it’s sort of like two for the price of one today) – what about diseases the come on much later in life, like let’s say Alzheimer’s.  What role do they play in evolution decisions?  Our ancestors may never have even encountered this type of illness, since no one lived long enough to experience it.  So, what about evolution again – will we evolve away Alzheimer’s, like many other genetic weaknesses that get weeded out over generations?  But how, since it onsets way late in life and therefore basically has zero bearing on the procreation decision?




He shouldn’t be in that profession.  He has no mides.


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