Science

Oldest girl ever or impostor? The controversial case of Calment

Jeanne Calment apparently lived to be 122, however divisive new analysis suggests she wasn’t who she appeared. There are enormous implications for our understanding of longevity

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24 April 2019

Jeanne Calment is formally the oldest girl who ever lived. However new analysis suggests she wasn’t who she appeared.

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty

SHE met Vincent van Gogh as a toddler, gave up smoking at 117 and ultimately died aged 122 years and 164 days. Jeanne Louise Calment is formally the oldest human ever to have lived, recognized in her native France as “la doyenne de l’humanité”. However she is probably not what she appears.

If a just lately printed analysis paper is right, a lady referred to as Jeanne Louise Calment did exist, however she died in 1934, aged 59. The girl who claimed to be her was truly her daughter Yvonne, 23 years her junior.

This discovering couldn’t solely shatter Calment’s legendary standing in France, but it surely may power gerontologists to revise a few of their cherished concepts about excessive outdated age.

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Calment’s official story, as verified by state demographers, is that she was born in Arles, France, on 21 February 1875. She was a rich girl who lived her life in relative obscurity, till she grew to become well-known aged 110. She noticed out her ultimate years as a nationwide treasure and a topic of intense scientific curiosity, ultimately dying on four August 1997.

Her fame exploded after she made a cameo look in a 1990 film referred to as Vincent and Me on the ostensible age of 114. She was additionally notably spry, using a motorbike properly past her 100th birthday. Her most well-known …


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