There have been a flurry of news reports in the past few days about the possibility that one day soon humans will be capable of living up to 1,000 years.
It's certainly true that the average life expectancy has risen dramatically in the past 100 years: in 1901 life expectancy for newborn babies was 45 for boys and 49 for girls. By 2000 life expectancy was 75 and 80 respectively.
However much of this improvement has come from large reductions in infant mortality due to better living conditions and access to medicine, and not because of any fundamental change in how humans age. There are in fact many reliable reports of long life spans throughout history: Plato (80 years), Augustus (76 years), Pope Celestine III (91 years), Isaac Newton (84 years). The ancient Greek philosopher Democritus of Abdera is reputed to have lived to the age of 109.
Indeed the maximum life span for humans has not really changed throughout human history; remaining around 115-120 years. The oldest-ever person was a French woman, Jeanne Calment, who lived 122.5 years (1875-1997).
It seems that with a healthy diet and regular exercise most people in the developed world today can expect to live somewhere between 70-90 years, with a small number living to or past 100 years. But claims of massively increased life spans in the near future are no more than pure speculation.
And, anyway, isn't quality of life more important than quantity?