Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | ePaper

World's oldest woman died at 122

  • Print


The Washington Post :
Jeanne Calment died in 1997 in the southern French town in which she was born, and her death drew a flurry of attention.
At 122, an age that had been certified by the Guinness World Records as well as public health researchers, she was the oldest documented person to ever have lived.
But a Russian mathematician is casting doubt on her record. Nikolay Zak, of the Moscow Center For Continuous Mathematical Education, said in a report that he believes that Calment was actually Yvonne Calment, Jeanne's daughter, who had assumed her mother's identity to avoid inheritance taxes in the 1930s. That would have made her 99 when she died.
The evidence produced by Zak in a paper published recently on the portal ResearchGate is not definitive.
He points to studies that showed that Calment had lost less than an inch of her height by the time she was well into her hundreds, significantly less than what would have been expected; Yvonne was also taller than Jeanne, he says. A passport for Jeanne in the 1930s lists different eye colors for her than she had later in life. And he raises questions about other physical discrepancies in her forehead and chin. He also claims that Calment had destroyed photographs and other family documents when she had been requested to send them to the archives in Arles.
The study has caused a global stir since it was issued. It has been covered by news media organizations around the world. Sample headline: "Jeanne Calment cheater?" France Inter radio asked.
But it has been denounced by some scientists, including the Jean-Marie Robine, who validated Calment's age and wrote a book about her around the time of her death.
"All of this is incredibly shaky and rests on nothing," Robine told Le Parisien.
According to Smithsonian magazine, he said Jeanne answered questions when he interviewed her that only she would have known the answer to, like the name of her math teacher and housekeepers in her building at the time.
"Her daughter couldn't have known that," he said. And he said that the whole town of Arles would have been in on the ruse.
"Can you imagine how many people would have lied? Overnight, Fernand Calment [Jeanne's husband] would have passed his daughter for his wife and everyone would have kept silent?" Robine said. "It is staggering."

More News For this Category

Memes, cartoons and caustic Cantonese: the language of Hong Kong's protests

Memes, cartoons and caustic Cantonese: the language of Hong Kong's protests

AFP :Viral artwork pummelling city leaders, clever word plays and Cantonese cursing that would make a sailor blush-Hong Kongers have displayed a characteristically riotous embrace of satire during their huge

Vietnam jails US national for 'state overthrow plot'

Vietnam jails US national for 'state overthrow plot'

A court in Vietnam has sentenced a US citizen to 12 years in prison after finding him guilty of attempting to "overthrow the state".Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, 55, had admitted

Saudi women use wedding contracts to assert right to drive

Saudi women use wedding contracts to assert right to drive

AFP, Dammam :Saudi salesman Majd had just begun his wedding preparations when his fiancee sought to enshrine in their marriage contract a condition already guaranteed by law-her right to drive.Wedding

Iran denies US cyber attack ahead of new sanctions

Iran denies US cyber attack ahead of new sanctions

AFP  :Iran denied Monday it was hit by a US cyber attack as Washington was due to tighten sanctions on Tehran in a standoff sparked by the US withdrawal from

Mike Pompeo Arrives In Saudi Arabia For Iran crisis talk

AFP, Jeddah: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived Monday in Saudi Arabia for talks on coordinating with the close ally amid mounting tensions with Iran.Pompeo is expected to meet

Turkey opposition deals blow to Erdogan in Istanbul win

Turkey opposition deals blow to Erdogan in Istanbul win

AFP  :Turkey's opposition revelled Monday in a landslide win in Istanbul's re-run mayoral vote-a blow for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that even some pro-government media called a victory for democracy.Ekrem

Trump's son-in-law's economic plan for ME peace faces Arab rejection

Trump's son-in-law's economic plan for ME peace faces Arab rejection

Reuters, Riyadh :US President Donald Trump's economic vision as part of the wider plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was met with contempt, repudiation and exasperation in the Arab world,

UK's Boris Johnson under pressure to explain domestic 'row'

UK's Boris Johnson under pressure to explain domestic 'row'

Boris Johnson, the strong favourite to become Britain's next prime minister, came under pressure from figures in his own party on Sunday to explain reports of a domestic 'row' that

North Korean leader receives 'excellent' letter from Trump: KCNA

North Korean leader receives 'excellent' letter from Trump: KCNA

AFP, Seoul :North Korean leader Kim Jong Un received a personal letter of "excellent content" from US President Donald Trump, the country's state media said Sunday, amid a nuclear deadlock

US conducted cyber attack on Iran in response to drone downing: Report

US conducted cyber attack on Iran in response to drone downing: Report

The United States launched cyber attacks against Iranian missile control systems and a spy network after Tehran downed an American surveillance drone, according to US media reports.US president Donald Trump