Modern humans have gotten incomparably good at survival, doing more to extend our lives over the last century than our forebears did in the previous 6.6 million years since we parted evolutionary ways with chimpanzees, according to a new study.

In fact, humans in societies with plentiful food and advanced medicine have surpassed other species used in life-extending medical research in stretching our longevity and reducing our odds of dying at every point along our ever-lengthening life spans, the study finds.

The research, published online Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, touches upon the hotly debated question of whether an upper limit to longevity is inscribed in our genes. It makes clear that life extension begins at birth, with a child born in the last four generations standing a better chance of being alive during infancy, adolescence, the reproductive years and after than in any of the 8,000 human generations that came before.

Read more at LA Times.