Whale Longevity as an Exemplar

Here is an interesting scan of an old article on whale life span that I hadn't noticed until now (it was mentioned in an article at Lew Rockwell that touched on healthy life extension - a rather surprising sign of the way in which our ideas are spreading).

In studies that could rewrite biology textbooks and establish whales as the longest-lived mammals on Earth, scientists in Alaska and at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla have estimated the ages of three bowhead whales killed by Inupiat Eskimos in northern Alaska at 135 to 172 years. At the time is was killed, a fourth bowhead whale was believed to be a stunning 211 years old, the researchers concluded.

Age was estimated by looking at chemical traces in the eyes and ivory harpoon tips from a century or more ago embedded in the whales. Fascinating stuff. I've mentioned the Ageless Animals website before at the Longevity Meme; the scientific findings reported there form a good rebuttal to some objections to healthy life extension. Many of these very long-lived animals are not so different, biochemically speaking, from us humans. If animals can live such very long lives, then it's certainly within the realm of possibility to develop therapies to greatly extend human healthy life spans.