Researchers in Geneva, Switzerland, and France confirm Jeanne Calment’s exceptional longevity by combining epidemiology, mathematical modeling, and historical investigation, disproving conspiracy theories surrounding her. But do you know what made Calment quite unique?
In 1965, a 90-year-old woman in France sold her home for the right to live in it for the rest of her life and received a monthly payment of 2,500 Francs. That woman became the oldest person in history and received more than twice the value of her property.
The Oldest Human Being Ever?
Calment, born in Arles, France, in 1875, began attracting international attention in the 1990s as she grew older. She was a colorful character who reveled in the spotlight, declaring ahead of her 120th birthday, “I await death and journalists.”
Calment was also known to smoke and to enjoy port and chocolate. In 1888, she met Vincent Van Gogh when he came to buy paint from her uncle in Arles, and she described him as ugly as sin and an awful character.
Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 165 days, is still the human being with the most extended life. Numerous investigations, both during her lifetime and after her death, have been conducted to confirm this record.
Calment had long been a celebrity in Arles, France, and claimed to have met the artist Vincent van Gogh who was born in 1853. According to the Irish Times, on her 120th birthday in 1995, Calment told a crowd gathered at her nursing home that she was looking forward to death and journalists.
I only have one wrinkle, and I am sitting on it.Jeanne Calment
(Source: National Spot)
Legitimacy in Age in Question?
However, Calment’s credibility has recently been questioned after Russian academics Valery Novoselov, and Nikolay Zak claimed in a December 2018 article in the scientific journal Rejuvenation Research that Calment may have been a scammer who duped the world.
The Russians claimed it was Calment’s daughter, Yvonne Billot, who died in August 1997 at 99. Calment, they argued, died in 1934 at the age of 59; the Russians claimed that their research revealed that upon Calment’s death that year, Yvonne assumed her identity in a devious plot to avoid inheritance taxes.
Furthermore, Calment’s official documentation documented different eye colors at different times, black on one, and grey on another, for example. Other evidence used by the Russians included photos showing Calment and her daughter Yvonne looking much closer than previously thought.
Calment’s supporters are now exhaling a sigh of relief following the publication of a new study that scorns the Russian one.
According to Jean-Marie Robine, Michel Allard, François R. Herrmann, and Bernard Jeune’s research, The facts supporting Jeanne Calment as the oldest ever human, Calment’s claim was genuine, and the Russians did her a disservice by engaging in a conspiracy theory.
In light of the Russian claims, they have revisited Calment’s past and examined new documentation to address various claims of the conspiracy theory and provide evidence for why these claims are based on inaccurate facts, according to their study abstract.
The team, which presents mathematical models that they claim make Calment’s age plausible, adds that the Russian study and its own mathematical findings do not reach the level expected for a scientific publication.
The French team readily admits that most age claims beyond 115 are false, but unlike the Russians, their team members were able to visit Calment in person. (Source: National Spot)
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