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longevity(lŏnjĕv`ĭtē), term denoting the length or duration of the life of an animal or plant, often used to indicate an unusually long life. The average human life-span of threescore and ten years cited in the Bible has been attained only in recent years in areas of the world where man has been largely freed from disease and social and economic disadvantages. In the period around the American Revolution, the average life span was less than 35 years. By 1920, in the United States, the average life span had risen to 54 years; and by 1992 the median life span was 75.8 years. Studies indicate that females are likely to live longer than males. Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan, the longest-lived person authenticated, lived 120 years. The whale averages 60 years. The eagle and the swan have the longest lives among birds; of the fishes, the carp and pike are believed to live as long as 150 years. Among plants, the bristlecone pine of California has the greatest longevity, over 4,600 years. See geriatricsgeriatrics
, the branch of medicine concerned with conditions and diseases of the aged. Many disabilities in old age are caused by or related to the deterioration of the circulatory system (see arteriosclerosis), e.g.
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See also Endurance.Abie’s Irish Rose
Back to Methuselah by
comedy by Anne Nichols ran for 2327 performances on Broadway. [Am. Lit.: Benét, 3]
the end of the twenty-second century, mankind has extended the life span to nearly three hundred years. [Br. Drama: Shaw Back to Methuselah in Magill III, 82]
matriarch who holds the clan together and lives to be one hundred years old. [Lat. Am. Lit.: Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude in Weiss, 336]
Meet the Press
sat from outbreak of Civil War to Charles II’s accession (1640–1660). [Br. Hist.: EB, VI: 319–320]
longest running television program; from 1947 to present. [Am. TV: McWhirter, 234]
son of Enoch; patriarch said to have lived 969 years. [O.T.: Genesis 5:21–27]
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano
London play by Agatha Christie, running since 1952. [Br. Lit.: McWhirter, 228]
(1882–1945) 32nd U.S. President; elected to four terms. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 726]
hidden Tibetan lamasery where all enjoy long life provided they remain there. [Br. Lit.: Lost Horizon]
(Ayesha) beautiful African sorceress who has lived for 2000 years. [Br. Lit.: H. Rider Haggard She in Magill I, 886]
(1819–1901) queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1837–1901). [Br. Hist.: NCE, 2886]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.