Science

Did Ancient People Really Have Lifespans Longer Than 200 Years?

Top left: A carving on a Taoist temple; Taoist masters throughout history are said to have lived hundreds of years. (Shutterstock*) Bottom left: An illustration from “Shahnama,” a 10th century Persian poem listing lifespans for kings of hundreds of years and even over 1,000. (Wikimedia Commons) Right: A painting of the biblical figure, Abraham, by Rembrandt; Abraham is said to have far outlived the lifespan expected in modern humans. (Wikimedia Commons) Background: (L-R) An ancient Sumerian tablet (Wikimedia Commons), an ancient Chinese medical text (Defun/iStock/Thinkstock), and Hebrew writing (Shutterstock*)
Top left: A carving on a Taoist temple; Taoist masters throughout history are said to have lived hundreds of years. (Shutterstock*) Bottom left: An illustration from “Shahnama,” a 10th century Persian poem listing lifespans for kings of hundreds of years and even over 1,000. (Wikimedia Commons) Right: A painting of the biblical figure, Abraham, by Rembrandt; Abraham is said to have far outlived the lifespan expected in modern humans. (Wikimedia Commons) Background: (L-R) An ancient Sumerian tablet (Wikimedia Commons), an ancient Chinese medical text (Defun/iStock/Thinkstock), and Hebrew writing (Shutterstock*)

It isn’t only biblical figures who lived to well-seasoned ages of 900 years or more. Ancient texts from many cultures have listed life spans most...

Environment

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  • An orphaned Sumatran orangutan at a rescue facility run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

    Activists Appeal for Indonesian Environment

      Activists have launched an urgent appeal calling upon outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to step up protection of the only ecosystem that houses... Read more

  • The earless monitor lizard (Lanthanotus borneensis). Barely seen since its description in 1878, the species has suddenly become a victim of wildlife trafficking for the pet trade. Photo by: Indraneil Das.

    Bizarre Lizard Newest Victim of Reptile Pet Trade

    If you’ve never heard of the earless monitor lizard, you’re not alone: this little-known, cryptic lizard has long-escaped the attention of the larger public. But... Read more

  • Bizarre insect in Manu National Park. A new study finds that both wildlife abundance and biodiversity are higher in protected areas, including for arthropods. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

    Wildlife Thriving in Protected Area Study Finds

      Protected areas are working. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis of over 80 different studies on the efficacy of parks and nature reserves... Read more

  • All photo by Erik Meijaard

    Indonesia’s Secret Treasures

      As our boat sailed towards the forest-clad island, I had no idea what surprise awaited me… A few months ago I was asked to... Read more

  • (Jeff Wilson)

    Living Simply in a Dumpster

    One professor left his home for a 36-square-foot open-air box, and he is happier for it. How much does a person really need? Tucked behind... Read more

  • Lesser-known than their savannah cousins, a genetics study in 2010 found that forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) are a distinct species, as far removed from savannah elephants as Asian elephants are from mammoths. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

    Six Poachers Arrested Near Mozambique

    A joint force of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and government authorities are in the midst of carrying out a series of raids against poachers... Read more

  • Eurasian Wigeon, one of the many birds spotted around the Ousteri Lake. Image courtesy Stefan via cc/Flickr

    Ousteri Lake, India is 15th Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu

    Ousteri Lake, a wetland known for sometime as an important feeding and breeding ground of several bird species has been declared as a bird sanctuary... Read more

  • Snow leopard (Rodney Jackson, wikimedia.org)

    India Plans to Save Endangered Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard, one of the most elusive wild cats in the world and one of the most endangered has got the Indian government’s attention. In... Read more

  • A big cat crosses the Mysore-Mananthavadi Highway as commercial vehicles look on. Photo credit: Vikram Nanjappa. Adapted from a 2010 report on wildlife mortality reduction measures in the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve.

    Meet the Newest Enemy to India’s Wildlife

      On the front page of the Times of India from August 20 in the southern city of Bangalore, is a short news piece tucked... Read more

  • Forest conversion for oil palm plantations in Malaysian Borneo in 2012.

    Malaysian Palm Oil Chief Misleads on Deforestation

    One of Malaysia’s top palm oil officials has once again misled the public on the state of forests in Malaysia. Speaking at a recent conference... Read more

  • Construction workers building a solar power plant in Rajasthan. (Photo Bhaskar Deol)

    New Report Series: India’s Burgeoning Solar and Wind Energy Markets Jumpstarting Job Growth

    India’s solar and wind programs have catalyzed rapid growth, providing much needed energy access while creating enormous employment opportunities for India’s workforce, as discussed during... Read more

  • Borneo elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis) are also known as Borneo pygmy elephants, but are not significantly smaller than other Asian elephants. Photo by Cede Prudente, WWF Malaysia.

    Pygmy Elephants Lose Forest to Palm Oil Plantations

      Best estimates put the number of pygmy elephants in Malaysian Borneo at approximately 2,200, but no one can be sure how many have lost... Read more

  • Residential and commercial buildings stand in the Parel area of Mumbai, India, on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg /Getty Images)

    Building Smart Cities in India

    In his Independence Day speech from Old Delhi’s famed Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced plans to replace India’s 64-year-old Planning Commission with a... Read more

  • (Shutterstock*)

    Scientists Look to Ancient Knowledge for Seasonal Forecasting

    An Australian scientist is working to collate ancient methods of weather prediction in the Pacific, saying that the study could help improve contemporary forecasting tools,... Read more


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