Longevity claims

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Longevity claims are unsubstantiated cases of asserted human longevity. Those asserting lifespans of 110 years or more are referred to as supercentenarians. Many have either no official verification or are backed only by partial evidence. Cases where longevity has been fully verified, according to modern standards of longevity research, are reflected in an established list of supercentenarians based on the work of organizations such as the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) or the Guinness World Records. This article lists living claims greater than that of the oldest person whose age has been independently verified, Violet Brown at 117 years, 108 days and deceased claims greater than that of the oldest person ever whose age has been verified, namely Jeanne Calment who died at the age of 122 years, 164 days. The upper limit for both lists is 130 years.

Scientific status[edit]

Prior to the 19th century, there was insufficient evidence either to demonstrate or to refute centenarian longevity.[1] Even today, no fixed theoretical limit to human longevity is apparent.[2] Studies[1] in the biodemography of human longevity indicate a late-life mortality deceleration law: that death rates level off at advanced ages to a late-life mortality plateau. This implies that there is no fixed upper limit to human longevity, or fixed maximum human lifespan.[3] Researchers in Denmark have found a way to determine when a person was born using radiocarbon dating done on the lens of the eye.[4]

Categorization[edit]

In 1955, Guinness World Records began maintaining a list of the verified oldest people.[5] It developed into a list of all supercentenarians whose lifespan had been verified by at least three documents, in a standardized process, according to the norms of modern longevity research. Many unverified cases ("claims" or "traditions") have been controverted by reliable sources. Taking reliable demographic data into account, these unverified cases vary widely in their plausibility.

Problems in documenting[edit]

  • The first two cases of people Guinness acknowledged as having reached 113 have now been discredited.[citation needed]
  • The first three cases of people Guinness acknowledged as having reached 114 are no longer considered verified.[citation needed]
  • Three people previously regarded by Guinness or the Gerontology Research Group as having reached 116 are no longer considered verified.[citation needed]

In numerous editions from the 1960s through the 1980s, Guinness stated that

No single subject is more obscured by vanity, deceit, falsehood, and deliberate fraud than the extremes of human longevity.[6]

Despite demographic evidence of the known extremes of modern longevity, stories in otherwise reliable sources still surface regularly, stating that these extremes have been exceeded. Responsible, modern, scientific validation of human longevity requires investigation of records following an individual from birth to the present (or to death); purported longevity far outside the demonstrated records regularly fail such scrutiny.

Actuary Walter G. Bowerman stated that ill-founded longevity assertions originate mainly in remote, underdeveloped regions, among non-literate peoples, with only family testimony available as evidence.[7] This means that people living in areas of the world with historically more comprehensive resources for record-keeping have tended to hold more claims to longevity, regardless of whether or not individuals in other parts of the world have lived longer.

In the transitional period of record-keeping, records tend to exist for the wealthy and upper-middle classes, but are often spotty and nonexistent for the middle classes and the poor. In the United States, birth registration did not begin in Mississippi until 1912 and was not universal until 1933. Hence, in many longevity cases, no actual birth record exists. This type of case is classified by gerontologists as "partially validated".[citation needed]

Proximate records[edit]

Since some cases were recorded in a census or in other reliable sources, obtainable evidence may complete full verification.

  • Maggie Barnes: Barnes claimed to be 117 at her death 19 January 1998.[8] Barnes, who was born to a slave and married a tenant farmer, was survived by four children; 11 of her children preceded her in death.[8] Inconsistent records suggested that she was born 6 March 1882 at the latest, but possibly a year earlier.[citation needed] The conclusion is that Barnes was at least 115 years 319 days at her death, and may have been one or two years older.

Late-life records[edit]

In another type of case, the only records that exist are late-life documents. Because age inflation often occurs in adulthood (to avoid military service or to apply for a pension early), or because the government may have begun record-keeping during an individual's lifetime, cases unverified by proximate records exist. These unverified cases are less likely to be true (because the records are written later), but are still possible. Longevity narratives were not subjected to rigorous scrutiny until the work of William Thoms in 1873. Thoms proposed the 100th-birthday test: is there evidence to support an individual's claimed age at what would be their centenary birthday?[9][10] This test does not prove a person's age, but does winnow out typical pension-claim longevity exaggerations and spontaneous claims that a certain relative is over 150.

  • Hanna Barysevich: Barysevich claimed to have been 118.[11] This can be neither verified nor disproven from Belarus records. The claim is demographically possible but incompletely verified. The probability of surviving to age 118 is low.
  • Pasikhat Dzhukalayeva: In 2004, The Moscow Times reported that Dzhukalayeva, of Chechnya, claimed to have been born in 1881 (age 122). The claim is possible but incompletely verified. Her death has not been reported since that time, so no age above 122 has been verifiably claimed.[12]
  • Susie Brunson: Her obituaries appear in Star-News newspaper[13] and The New York Times.[14] Her family claims that she was born December 25, 1870 and lived to age 123, dying in late November, 1994.[14]

Reports with complete date of birth[edit]

These are standardized lists of people whose lifespans remain unverified by proximate records, including both modern (Guinness-era) and historical cases. Claims missing either (or both) a date of birth/date of death are listed separately. All cases in which an individual's supercentenarian lifespan is not (yet) backed by records sufficient to the standards of modern longevity research are listed as unverified. They may be factually true, even though records do not exist (or have not yet been found), so such lists include these grey-area cases.

Recent[edit]

These living supercentenarian cases, in descending order of claimed age, with full birth and review dates, have been updated within the past two years, but have not had their claimed age validated by an independent body such as the Gerontology Research Group or Guinness World Records. Only claims greater than the oldest verified living person, Violet Brown who is aged 117 years, 108 days, but under 130 years are included in the list.

Name Sex Reported birth date Age as of 26 June 2017 Place of residence Latest report
Maria Lucimar Pereira[15] F 3 September 1890 126 years, 296 days Brazil 9 January 2017
Daw Mya Kyi[16][17][18][19] F 9 October 1892 124 years, 260 days Myanmar 17 May 2016
Tian Longyu[20][21] F 9 June 1893 124 years, 17 days China 30 October 2016
Juana Chox Yac[22][23][24] F 29 November 1893 123 years, 209 days Guatemala 6 October 2016
Celino Villanueva Jaramillo[25][26][27] M 25 July 1896 120 years, 336 days Chile 25 July 2016
Swami Sivananda[28] M 8 August 1896 120 years, 322 days India 12 December 2016
Sudhakar Chaturvedi[29] M 20 April 1897 120 years, 67 days India 23 April 2016
Francisca Susano[30][31] F 11 September 1897 119 years, 288 days Philippines 11 September 2016
Deolinda Soares Rodrigues[32][33] F 24 June 1898 119 years, 2 days Brazil 24 June 2016
María Berta Álvarez[34] F 16 September 1898 118 years, 283 days Argentina 26 April 2017
Natividad Martinez de la Cruz[35][36] F 4 January 1900 117 years, 173 days Dominica 4 January 2017
María de los Reyes Crisóstomo[37] F 6 January 1900 117 years, 171 days Dominican Republic 31 March 2017
Filomena Maria da Conceição[38] F 6 March 1900 117 years, 112 days Brazil 7 March 2017
Gjela Mhilli[39][40] F 9 March 1900 117 years, 109 days Albania 10 March 2016
José Delgado Corrales[41][42] M 10 March 1900 117 years, 108 days Costa Rica 6 March 2017

Past[edit]

This table contains supercentenarian claims with either a known death date or no confirmation for more than 2 years that they were still alive. Only claims greater than that of Jeanne Calment who died at the age of 122 years, 164 days, but under 130 years are included. They are listed in order of age as of the date of death or date last reported alive.

Name Sex Reported birth date Death date or latest report Reported age Place of death/latest residence
Ali Ben Mohamed El Amri[43][44] M 5 October 1880 fl. 30 September 2010 129 years, 360 days Tunisia
Maria do Carmo Gerônimo[45] F 5 March 1871 14 June 2000 129 years, 101 days Brazil
Mary Ewen[46] F 5 May 1878 10 April 2007 128 years, 340 days Jamaica
Cruz Hernández[45] F 3 May 1878 8 March 2007 128 years, 309 days El Salvador
Elizabeth Israel[45] F 27 January 1875 14 October 2003 128 years, 260 days Dominica
José del Rosario Serrano[47][48] M 5 March 1881 24 April 2009 128 years, 50 days Colombia
Swami Kalyan Dev[45] M 26 June 1876 12 July 2004 128 years, 16 days India
William Johnson[49] M 8 May 1881 15 May 2009 128 years, 7 days United States
Luo Meizhen[50][51] F 9 July 1885 9 June 2013 127 years, 335 days China
Juana Bautista de la Candelaria Rodríguez[52] F 2 February 1885 24 December 2012 127 years, 326 days Cuba
Halim Solmaz[53] F 1 July 1884 29 March 2012 127 years, 272 days Turkey
Tshinyelo Dora Muzila[54] F 4 May 1880 14 January 2008 127 years, 255 days South Africa
Leandra Becerra Lumbreras F 31 August 1887 19 March 2015 127 years, 200 days Mexico
Nicolas Savin[55] M 17 April 1768 29 November 1894 126 years, 226 days Russia
Maria Gonçalves dos Santos[56] F 24 June 1890 15 December 2016 126 years, 174 days Brazil
Benito Martínez Abrogán[45] M 19 June 1880 11 October 2006 126 years, 114 days Cuba
Margarita Lacsi[57][58][59] F 30 March 1878 27 May 2004 126 years, 58 days Argentina
Jackson Pollock[45] M 25 December 1869 7 September 1995 125 years, 304 days United States
Nuri Öztunç[60] M 1 July 1885 6 March 2011 125 years, 248 days Turkey
Juan Ramos[45] M 24 June 1880 24 January 2006 125 years, 214 days United States
Aberewa Grace[45] F 16 August 1878 18 January 2004 125 years, 155 days Ghana
Anna Visser[45] F 25 December 1878 8 January 2004 125 years, 14 days Namibia
Maria Etelvina dos Santos[45] F 15 July 1878 8 March 2003 124 years, 236 days Brazil
Hu Yeh-mei[61] F 10 February 1885 24 August 2009 124 years, 195 days Taiwan
Armando Frid[45][62] M 24 May 1866 28 July 1990 124 years, 65 days Argentina
Maria Verissimo de Matos[63][64] F 5 June 1888 17 June 2012 124 years, 12 days Brazil
Mariam Amash[65][66][67] F c. 1888 22 December 2012 approx. 124 years Israel
Ana Martinha da Silva[45] F 25 August 1880 27 July 2004 123 years, 337 days Brazil
Carmelo Flores Laura M 16 July 1890 9 June 2014 123 years, 328 days Bolivia
Arthur Reed[45] M 28 June 1860 15 April 1984 123 years, 292 days United States
Hava Rexha[45] F 14 August 1880 8 November 2003 123 years, 86 days Albania
Nguyễn Thị Trù[68][69] F 4 May 1893 12 July 2016 123 years, 69 days Vietnam
Turupu Aimaiti[70][71] M 5 February 1892 fl. 26 February 2015 123 years, 21 days China
Live Larsdatter[72] F 6 August 1575 9 July 1698 122 years, 337 days Denmark
Shukhrat Aliyeva[73] F 1 January 1887 1 December 2009 122 years, 334 days United States
Oberia Coffin[45] F 1 December 1883 18 October 2006 122 years, 321 days United States
Nehemiah Ndur[74] M 25 February 1890 10 December 2012 122 years, 289 days Nigeria
Dora Jacobs[45] F 6 May 1880 19 January 2003 122 years, 258 days South Africa
Zhang Daoling[75] M 15 January 34 9 September 156 122 years, 238 days China
Mamie Evans[45] F 2 July 1872 15 January 1995 122 years, 197 days United States
David Peterson[45] M 22 November 1850 31 May 1973 122 years, 190 days United States
Sarah Hoover[45] F 25 June 1874 15 December 1996 122 years, 173 days United States

References[edit]

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External links[edit]