The human race has peaked, with mankind reaching its maximum limits for height, lifespan and physical performance, scientists have claimed.
Despite stories that each generation will live longer and longer, a new report suggests there may be a maximum threshold to our biological limits that we cannot exceed.
In particular, the French research team behind the study found what appears to be a plateau in the maximum biological limits for humans' height, age and physical abilities.
"These traits no longer increase, despite further continuous nutritional, medical, and scientific progress," said Professor Jean-François Toussaint from Paris Descartes University.Read More
- How the giraffe got its long neck: Nine million year old fossil sheds light on evolution of world's tallest animal
"This suggests that modern societies have allowed our species to reach its limits. We are the first generation to become aware of this."
Rather than continually improving, the scientists said we will see a shift in the proportion of the population reaching the previously recorded maximum limits.
For example, fewer sport records will be broken and more people will reach but not exceed the present highest life expectancy.
Moreover, the researchers warned that mankind's impact on the environment - including climate change - could see these limits decrease.Read More
- Brains vs brawn - scientists have finally figured out which is better
"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 human health and the environment," Professor Toussaint said.
"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."
Click to playTap to play
The video will start in 8Cancel
He pointed out that, in some African countries, human height has decreased in the last decade, suggesting some societies are no longer able to provide sufficient nutrition for their children.
The researchers hope their findings, published in Frontiers in Physiology, will encourage policy makers to focus on strategies for increasing quality of life, maximising the number of people that can reach these biological limits.Read More
- Humans face 'mass extinction' if action isn't taken in the next 20 years
"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," said Toussaint.
"With escalating environmental constraints, this may cost increasingly more energy and investment in order to balance the rising ecosystem pressures.
"However, if successful, we then should observe an incremental rise in mean values of height, lifespan and most human biomarkers.
"The utmost challenge is now to maintain these indices at high levels."