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Secret of Longevity

THE INDEPENDENT, 10 February 2001

Lorna Duckworth

Secret of longevity -- big ears and stumpy legs


Forget Naomi Campbell and Linford Christie. Beautiful creatures they may be, but the ultimate human body should have stumpy legs, flapping ears and backward-bending knees.

Experts in longevity said yesterday that humans would look like “short, stout elves” if they were designed to live to be more than 100, without being plagued by the miseries of old age. Bodies deteriorate rapidly in the post-reproductive years, leaving humans immobilized by fractured hips, torn ligaments, varicose veins, cataracts, poor hearing and crumbling spines.

Three American scientists have revealed the perfect body design for a long and healthy life. If humans “were built to last”. they would have a curved neck, thicker bones, more sophisticated bladders, and more distinct food and air passages in the throat to stop us choking.

Professor S Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes of the University of Chicago, together with Dr Robert Butler of the International Longevity Centre in New York,

described their creation in the March issue of the magazine Scientific American, in an article called “Anatomical Oddities and Design Flaws in the Human Body”.

They said that human bodies were designed to pass on genes during reproduction. But human ingenuity now meant we lived much longer and pushed our bodies to function well past their warranty period.

“Had we been crafted for extended operation, we would have fewer flaws capable of making us miserable in our later days,.” the article said. “Our bodies deteriorate because they were not designed for extended operation.”

The scientists said no amount of healthy living could make up for the “countless imperfections” in our design. “We would still wear out over time, even if some mythical, ideal lifestyle could be identified and adopted.”

Achtung! Kein Scherz, keine Ente.

Leg veins would have more valves to combat varicose veins, and backward bending knees would make. the bones less likely to grind and wear out. Larger hamstrings and tendons would guard against fractured hips.

The common “plumbing” problems of old age would be overcome by simple modifications to the anatomy of the bladder, which was so badly designed it could be the work of a young apprentice, the scientists said.

Large, mobile ears would collect sound more efficiently. The eyes would be a flatter shape and “rewired” to strengthen the link between the optic nerve and retina, which is prone to detaching with time.

The scientists said: “Had longevity and persistent good health been the overarching aim of evolution, arrangements such as these might have been commonplace.”

To extend our “sell-by date”, the body would lose his awkward, upright posture which had resulted in the lower vertebrae growing too big and put too much pressure on the spinal discs.

Instead tile body would tilt forward to lessen the risk of ruptured or slipped discs which contribute, to the common problem of lower back pain.

A curved neck with bigger vertebrae would allow the head to stay up and face forward and the whole back would be shorter and stronger with thicker discs.

The rib cage would have extra ribs to help prevent hernias and hold the organs more tightly in place. Thicker bones would protect against breakages, while extra muscle and fat would cushion the bones and stop them weakening.

© Krefelder Studio für Alexander-Technik - Letzte Aktualisierung 11.06.2017