Forwarded from Nestor (life span)

David McDonald dbmcdonald at
Thu Aug 14 07:52:38 MDT 2003

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-marxism at
[mailto:owner-marxism at]On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 6:43 AM
To: marxism at
Subject: Forwarded from Nestor (life span)

Nestor wrote:

"I believe in human history most people who made it past their
childhoods probably lived close to 35 years or

That is a wrong assumption.

In fact, if we place ourselves in the point of view of the necessities
of species reproduction, with sexual maturity around 13-15 years and the
peculiarities of human reproduction (education, etc.) a life span of
around 20 years would be enough.

And this seems to have been the average. According to historians of the
Roman Empire and anthropologists (Kovaliov, for example) the _whole_
life span during that quite advanced (from _this_ point of view) stage
of human species development was around 25 years.  No surprise that
there were no "teen agers" under Tiberius.

David McDonald replies:

OK, I'm no expert on ancient lifespans, so I will cede that point. But if
you look at the stats I gave the URL for (I got it by googling on "leading
causes of death") you will see that cancer is the leading health cause of
death (excludes accidents, suicides & homocides) from age 5 thru 25, year
2000 in the US. So there.

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