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 Guinness World Records. This article lists living claims greater than that of the oldest person whose age has been independently verified, Kane Tanaka at 115 years, 316 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

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

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.

Fully verified claims

  • 46 people are fully verified as reaching 115.
  • 19 of these people reached 116.
  • Nine of these people are fully verified as reaching 117, and two of them have surpassed this age.
  • The oldest person verified by modern standards, and the only person with undisputed evidence to have lived to be 120 (and over), was French woman Jeanne Calment (21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997), aged 122 years, 164 days.
  • The oldest man verified by modern standards, and the only man with undisputed evidence to have lived to be 116 (and over), was Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura (19 April 1897 – 12 June 2013), aged 116 years, 54 days.
  • As of August 2018, the oldest verified living person is Japanese woman Kane Tanaka, born 2 January 1903, age 115 years, 316 days, and the oldest verified living man is Masazo Nonaka, born 25 July 1905, age 113 years, 112 days, from Japan.

Problems in documenting

  • 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

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 on 19 January 1998.[8] Barnes, who was born to a slave and married a tenant farmer, had fifteen children; 11 of whom preceded her in death.[8] Inconsistent records suggested that she was born on 6 March 1882 at the latest, but possibly a year earlier. The conclusion is that Barnes was at least 115 years and 319 days old at her death, and may have been one to two years older.[citation needed]

Late-life records

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.
  • 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

These are standardized lists of people whose lifespans remain unverified by proximate records, including both modern (Guinness-era) and historical cases. 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

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, Kane Tanaka, who is aged 115 years, 316 days, but under 130 years are included in the list.

Name Sex Reported birth date Age Country Latest report Ref
Koku Istambulova F 1 June 1889 129 years, 166 days Russia 16 May 2018 [15]
Maria Lucimar Pereira F 3 September 1890 128 years, 72 days Brazil 9 January 2017 [16]
Ajiben Chandravadia F 1 January 1891 127 years, 317 days India 10 December 2017 [17]
Juana Sanchez Lopez F 14 January 1896 122 years, 304 days Mexico 9 April 2018 [18]
Appaz Ilev M 1 March 1896 122 years, 258 days Russia 12 April 2018 [19]
Tanzilya Bisembeyeva F 14 March 1896 122 years, 245 days Russia 20 May 2018 [20][21]
Swami Sivananda M 8 August 1896 122 years, 98 days India 12 December 2016 [22]
Salma Abdulqadir F 1 July 1897 121 years, 136 days Iraq 5 June 2018 [23][24]
Francisca Susano F 11 September 1897 121 years, 64 days Philippines 17 September 2017 [25][26][27]
Tekumatla Narsamma F 1 January 1898 120 years, 317 days India 11 February 2017 [28]
Deolinda Soares Rodrigues F 24 June 1898 120 years, 143 days Brazil 24 June 2018 [29][30][31][32]
Asiye Sutlu F 17 April 1899 119 years, 211 days Turkey 18 April 2018 [33][34]
Natividad Martinez de la Cruz F 4 January 1900 118 years, 314 days Dominican Republic 6 January 2017 [35][36][37]
María de los Reyes Crisóstomo F 6 January 1900 118 years, 312 days Dominican Republic 31 March 2017 [38]
Filomena Maria da Conceição F 6 March 1900 118 years, 253 days Brazil 17 April 2018 [39][40]
José Delgado Corrales M 10 March 1900 118 years, 249 days Costa Rica 4 February 2018 [41][42][43]
María Félix Nava F 20 July 1900 118 years, 117 days Mexico 20 July 2018 [44][45][46][47]
Natalia Paulina Reynoso F 27 July 1900 118 years, 110 days Argentina 28 July 2018 [48][49]
Julia Flores Colque F 26 October 1900 118 years, 19 days Bolivia 28 August 2018 [50]
Aguilar Jaramillo Ignacio M 11 January 1901 117 years, 307 days Ecuador 11 January 2018 [51]
Masima Leonora Noel F 9 December 1901 116 years, 340 days Grenada 9 December 2017 [52]
Dorrisile Dervis F 25 December 1901 116 years, 324 days United States 11 March 2018 [53]
Sebastiao Batista dos Santos M 15 March 1902 116 years, 244 days Brazil 15 March 2018 [54][55]
Armindo José de Souza M 8 December 1902 115 years, 341 days Brazil 14 August 2017 [56]
Tava Colo F 22 December 1902 115 years, 327 days France (Réunion) 22 December 2017 [57]

Past

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 / latest report Reported age Country
Ali Ben Mohamed El Amri[58][59] M 5 October 1880 30 September 2010 129 years, 360 days Tunisia
José Aguinelo dos Santos[60] M 7 July 1888 20 December 2017 129 years, 166 days Brazil
Petronila Opol[61] F 21 October 1851 7 February 1981 129 years, 109 days Philippines
Maria do Carmo Gerônimo[62] F 5 March 1871 14 June 2000 129 years, 101 days Brazil
Mary Ewen[63] F 5 May 1878 10 April 2007 128 years, 340 days Jamaica
Cruz Hernández[62] F 3 May 1878 8 March 2007 128 years, 309 days El Salvador
Elizabeth Israel[62] F 27 January 1875 14 October 2003 128 years, 260 days Dominica
Safiah Ujang[64] F 11 February 1889 26 October 2017 128 years, 257 days Malaysia
José del Rosario Serrano[65][66] M 5 March 1881 24 April 2009 128 years, 50 days Colombia
Swami Kalyan Dev[62] M 26 June 1876 12 July 2004 128 years, 16 days India
William Johnson[67] M 8 May 1881 15 May 2009 128 years, 7 days United States
Luo Meizhen[68][69] F 9 July 1885 9 June 2013 127 years, 335 days China
Juana Bautista de la Candelaria Rodríguez[70] F 2 February 1885 24 December 2012 127 years, 326 days Cuba
Luang Pu Chant Siri[71][72] M 10 April 1849 23 February 1977 127 years, 319 days Thailand
Halim Solmaz[73] F 1 July 1884 29 March 2012 127 years, 272 days Turkey
Tshinyelo Dora Muzila[74] 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[75] M 17 April 1768 29 November 1894 126 years, 226 days Russia
Maria Gonçalves dos Santos[76] F 24 June 1890 15 December 2016 126 years, 174 days Brazil
Benito Martínez Abrogán[62] M 19 June 1880 11 October 2006 126 years, 114 days Cuba
Margarita Lacsi[77][78][79] F 30 March 1878 27 May 2004 126 years, 58 days Argentina
Jackson Pollock[62] M 25 December 1869 7 September 1995 125 years, 304 days United States
Nuri Öztunç[80] M 1 July 1885 6 March 2011 125 years, 248 days Turkey
Juan Ramos[62] M 24 June 1880 24 January 2006 125 years, 214 days United States
Aberewa Grace[62] F 16 August 1878 18 January 2004 125 years, 155 days Ghana
Anna Visser[62] F 25 December 1878 8 January 2004 125 years, 14 days Namibia
Maria Etelvina dos Santos[62] F 15 July 1878 8 March 2003 124 years, 236 days Brazil
Hu Yeh-mei[81] F 10 February 1885 24 August 2009 124 years, 195 days Taiwan
Socorro Medrano Guevara[82] F 17 June 1894 13 September 2018 124 years, 88 days Mexico
Armando Frid[62][83] M 24 May 1866 28 July 1990 124 years, 65 days Argentina
Maria Verissimo de Matos[84][85] F 5 June 1888 17 June 2012 124 years, 12 days Brazil
Mariam Amash[86][87][88] F c. 1888 22 December 2012 approx. 124 years Israel
Ana Martinha da Silva[62] 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
Juana Chox Yac[89][90][91][92] F 29 November 1893 27 September 2017 123 years, 302 days Guatemala
Arthur Reed[62] M 28 June 1860 15 April 1984 123 years, 292 days Brazil
Daw Mya Kyi[93][94][95][96] F 9 October 1892 fl. 17 May 2016 123 years, 221 days Myanmar
Tian Longyu[97][98] F 9 June 1893 fl. 30 October 2016 123 years, 143 days China
Hava Rexha[62] F 14 August 1880 8 November 2003 123 years, 86 days Albania
Nguyễn Thị Trù[99][100] F 4 May 1893 12 July 2016 123 years, 69 days Vietnam
Turupu Aimaiti[101][102] M 5 February 1892 fl. 26 February 2015 123 years, 21 days China
Live Larsdatter[103] F 6 August 1575 9 July 1698 122 years, 337 days Denmark
Shukhrat Aliyeva[104] F 1 January 1887 1 December 2009 122 years, 334 days Brazil
Oberia Coffin[62] F 1 December 1883 18 October 2006 122 years, 321 days United States
Nehemiah Ndur[105] M 25 February 1890 10 December 2012 122 years, 289 days Nigeria
Dora Jacobs[62] F 6 May 1880 19 January 2003 122 years, 258 days South Africa
Zhang Daoling[106] M 15 January 34 9 September 156 122 years, 238 days Han Dynasty
Mamie Evans[62] F 2 July 1872 15 January 1995 122 years, 197 days United States
David Peterson[62] M 22 November 1850 31 May 1973 122 years, 190 days United States
Sarah Hoover[62] F 25 June 1874 15 December 1996 122 years, 173 days United States

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External links

  • Books on demographic transition of longevity claims at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
  • Gerontology Research Group
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