Evidence that Jeanne Calment died in 1934, not 1997

Nikolay Zak
2019 Rejuvenation Research  
I present a body of data that, I argue, cumulatively casts serious doubt on the validity of Jeanne Calment's accepted world record of human life span. First, I assess the plausibility of the record based on the life spans of other centenarians in the International Database of Longevity (IDL) and critique some arguments put forward previously in support of that plausibility, including the longevity of Calment's ancestors. Second, I review the literature dedicated to Calment and discuss multiple
more » ... d discuss multiple contradictions in her interviews, biographies, photos, and documents. I argue that the evidence from these sources motivates renewed consideration of the previously rejected hypothesis that Jeanne's daughter Yvonne acquired her mother's identity after her death to avoid financial problems and that Jeanne Calment's death was reported as Yvonne's death in 1934. Finally I discuss the importance of reconsidering the principles of validation, due to the possibility of similar problems regarding other exceptionally long-lived people and the mistaken inferences that researchers may draw from flawed datasets. The phenomenon of Jeanne Calment may prove to be an instructive example of the uncertainty of seemingly well-established facts.
doi:10.1089/rej.2018.2167 fatcat:qbwe6tei2bfgzppw2ozypp2ale