>>Potential lifespans aren't absolute; the chance of death never goes
>>to 1. With humans the chance of death seems to max out at about
>>40% per year or so. With enough people, or enough luck, you could
>>probably get any age you wanted; it's just that the number of people
>>or amount of luck required goes up fast and exponentially.
>
>As I understand you, the larger the sample, the larger the resulting
>estimate?
Yes, although the age estimate goes with the logarithm of the sample
size, so the changes aren't generally all that large once your
sample size is decent.
>Has anyone seen any estimates based on the theory of programmed cell
>death?
I haven't seen any estimates; it's quite a leap from a cellular-level
aging theory to whole-organism lifespan estimates. Programmed cell
death would probably predict that there is a true wall out there
somewhere. However, even quite old people seem to have a fair number
of divisions left in their fibroblasts, so we'd probably not be that
close to the wall.