Scientists have suggested the earliest humans had the same life expectancy at 30 as a person aged 72 does today.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany said that advances in medical technologies and medicines are responsible for increased life expectancies.
According to the study, the life expectancy newborn babies that are born in industrialised Western nations has increased by approximately three months each year since 1840.
As a result, people in developed nations today can often live well beyond the age of 80.
Dr Oskar Burger, who led the study, said the increase in life expectancy is largely attributable to "removing environmental shocks, by making injuries and illnesses less fatal with medical technology and by enhancing health at older ages by improving nutrition and reducing disease at younger ages".
During the investigation, researchers analysed tribal communities in Africa, South America and the Philippines to discover that people with a way of life deemed to be reminiscent of early hunter-gatherers have the same chance of dying at the age of 30 as a person in Japan does at 72.
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