There’s no known limit to how long humans can live

Last October, scientists made a splash when they determined that on average, people can only live for about 115 years. That was the magic age at which the human body and brain just petered out; it wasn’t designed to chug along much longer than that, they said.

That conclusion, published in the journal Nature, sparked hot debate among longevity researchers. Some felt the results vindicated what they felt to be the case, while others took issue with pinpointing a limit—and such a specific one, at that.

Now, in the new issue of Nature, the editors invited scientists who criticized the original authors’ methods to lay out their arguments for why there isn’t necessarily a limit to human aging. In the five resulting critiques, researchers tease apart the original authors’ methods, noting that they made assumptions that weren’t warranted and overreached in their conclusions. (The researchers who concluded that human lifespan maxes out at 115 years stand by their findings, and they responded to each of the current authors’ criticisms.)