The New Old Studying bias against old people is a relatively new phenomenon, partly because old people are a relatively new phenomenon. For hundreds of millennia, the average human lifespan rarely reached 40. There have always been some people who lived well beyond that age. Socrates, born in 470 B.C., died at 70 (of execution by poisoning, not age). Harriet Tubman, born in 1822, died at 91. But 20th century health care advancements and other factors caused life expectancy to skyrocket.