Researchers Warn: Humans Have Hit Their "Biological Limitations"

The twentieth century was an unbelievable era for the progression of human beings, with a significant increase in lifespan, adult height, and physiological performance.

As humans advance seventeen years into the 21st century, French researchers have now signaled a possible top in biological limitations of the human body, otherwise known as a biological plateau.

Researchers blame climate change and pollution among some of the effects, but also insist the human body design has limits.

The study, a first of its kind, dissected 120-years worth of historical data while considering both genetic and environmental parameters, said Science Daily.

Making sense of it all, each generation has the notion that future generations will live longer and longer, this study suggests there may be a maximum threshold to our biological limits.

A research team across various academic institutions in France,  analyzed “trends emerging from historical records, concluding that there appears to be a plateau in the maximum biological limits for humans’ height, age, and physical abilities,” said Science Daily.

Professor Jean-François Toussaint from Paris Descartes University, France, cited in the study, explained “these traits no longer increase, despite further continuous nutritional, medical, and scientific progress. This suggests that modern societies have allowed our species to reach its limits. We are the first generation to become aware of this.”

“This will be one of the biggest challenges of this century as the added pressure from anthropogenic activities will be responsible for damaging effects on human health and the environment.” Prof. Toussaint forecasts.

 

“The current declines in human capacities we can see today are a sign that environmental changes, including climate, are already contributing to the increasing constraints we now have to consider.”

 

“Observing decreasing tendencies may provide an early signal that something has changed but not for the better. Human height has decreased in the last decade in some African countries; this suggests some societies are no longer able to provide sufficient nutrition for each of their children and maintain the health of their younger inhabitants,” Prof. Toussaint said.

The study describes human natural limits have already been enhanced through artificial means, but a ceiling still remains in place due to the “evolutionary constraints of body design.”

In fact, it is probable that human natural limits have already been enhanced by artificial means for both maximal longevity and maximal physical performance. These “manufactured times”, represent an increase in life duration or sport performance, beyond the limits imposed by our biology (Carnes and Olshansky, 2007).

 

In this sense, a scientific breakthrough may point to another future substantial “manufactured” gain that will shift the upper limits beyond the current values in addition to the healthy living standards that will increase the number of people reaching old age. However, such artificial enhancements will also have “Achilles heels”, i.e., maximal progress that cannot surpass an imposed ceiling.

 

For example, the evolutionary constraints of body design that lead to structural and functional limitations or environmental factors hinder increased progress. The emergence of new major artificial enhancements may be less favorable in light of ever increasing environmental boundaries.

Further, the study said any story claiming humans can live for hundreds of years in the near future, thanks to medical scientific progress, is absolutely “meaningless.”

For such reasons, it is meaningless to claim that most human will live for 200–500 years in the near future (de Grey, 2003), thanks to medical or scientific progress, or that “within 15 years, we’ll be adding more than a year every year to our remaining life expectancy” (Kurzweil and Grossman, 2010). Raising false hopes without taking into account that human beings are already extremely “optimized” for lifespan seems inappropriate.  

In this new phase of human history, where biological limitations for human beings have peaked, as per the study above, a sense of panic or urgency has been seen from academia and government to correct this trend.  We start to realize the push for artificial intelligence, robots, and transhumanist media content has never been greater. But why is that? Perhaps, when one connects the dots, those who hold the power are conditioning the masses for the next evolutionary jump, however this time, it will involve technology.

The evolutionary jump has already started: