Humans have reached their biological limit for height, lifespan and physical performance
The Earth has seen better days, like when humans didn’t treat it as the house of a random classmate whose party they’re crashing while mom and dad are away for the weekend.
Except now, the parents are on their way home, and all of us are about to pay the dire consequences of our irresponsible actions.
Scientists from Paris Descartes University now suggest humans have reached their biological limit for height, lifespan and physical performance — one of the main reasons being the impact we’ve had on the environment.
The review spans 120 years of history and takes into account both genetic and environmental factors.
“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 the human health and the environment,” predicts professor Toussaint, an author of the study. “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.”
These limits are likely to surface (and be most noticeable to the public) in sports, as the French scientists believe fewer and fewer records will be broken.
More than a decade ago, sport statisticians observed that athletes are probably within close reach of biology’s constraints. This now seem tighter than ever in light of pervasive doping scandals, the most recent of which Russia was caught up in and subsequently banned from the upcoming Winter Olympics.
However, the French scientists believe this verdict might have a silver lining — it can invoke some long due unity and set a standard for countries to strive for.
“Now that we know the limits of the human species, this can act as a clear goal for nations to ensure that human capacities reach their highest possible values for most of the population,” Toussaint says. “With escalating environmental constraints, this may cost increasingly more energy and investment in order to balance the rising eco system pressures. However, if successful, we then should observe an incremental rise in mean values of height, lifespan and most human biomarkers.”
Our impact on the environment causes the planet to fire back, and soon nobody will be out of its range. Hopefully, this data reminds us that before being American or European, white or black, rich or poor, we are all human, and it’s up to us to “maintain these indices at high levels,” as professor Toussaint says.
Which he believes to be “the utmost challenge.”