People may have reached their highest limits for their height, lifespan and physical performance, according to historical information. Specialists recommend that humans have biological constraints and that anthropogenic influences on the environment including environmental change could have a harmful effect on these limits.
Despite stories that with each generation we will live longer and longer, the researchers propose there may be the highest threshold to our biological limits that we cannot beat.
The first of its kind study that looked at 120 years worth of historical information unveiled that these biological limitations might be influenced by anthropogenic results on the environment.
Jean-François Toussaint, Professor at the Paris Descartes University in France, said that the current deteriorations in human abilities we can see today are a warning that environmental changes, including climate, are now contributing to the increasing limitations we now have to admit. For instance, human height has declined in the last decade in some African countries; this implies that some communities are no longer able to give sufficient nutrition for each of their children and sustain the health of their new inhabitants, the researchers described.
“These characteristics no longer rise, despite further constant nutritional, medical, and scientific growth. This proposes that modern societies have enabled our species to reach its limits. We are the first generation to become knowledgeable of this,” Toussaint added.
Therefore, rather than constantly increasing, we will see a shift in the balance of the population reaching the earlier reported maximum limits.
“This will be one of the greatest hurdles of this century as the added pressure from anthropogenic actions will be accountable for damaging effects on human health and the ecosystem,” Toussaint said, in the paper, issued in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.
The experts believe their findings will inspire policymakers to focus on plans for increasing quality of life and maximise the balance of the population that can reach these maximum biological limits.