What is more surprising is that according to a new study funded by Calico, Google’s life extension research branch, they seem to defy the Gompertz Law outright (i.e., the tendency of mortality to increase with age). Consequently, their life expectancy in controlled environments might be far higher even than the oft stated 35 years.
This seems to be pretty remarkable, since although there is a wide diversity of ageing/mortality patterns across the tree of life, outright defiance of the Gompertz Law was thought to be limited to the really primitive creatures, like hydra.
This is encouraging for a couple of reasons.
1. Calico is an infamously secretive company that has hovered up a substantial fraction of the world’s ageing experts. At least this is confirmation that it’s still doing work on those lines instead of just more pharmacological money-grubbing.
2. It has long seemed to me that radical IQ augmentation would be easier than radical life extension, since the range of human genetic variation is far greater in the former (an IQ of 175 is cardinally different from 100 in a way that a life expectancy of 120 years is not cardinally different from 80), while the only animals that had really “solved” the ageing problem were presumably too primitive to provide ideas for human longevity. Naked mole rats at least prove that indefinitely extended lifespans are feasible in mammals.