Jeanne Calment, the French woman who holds the title as the world’s oldest person, may have been a fraud, Russian researchers believe.
Calment died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days. Nikolai Zak, a mathematician and a member of the Society of Naturalists of Moscow University, wrote in a study that he believed the French woman “took the identity of her mother.” Zak searched biographies and photos from southern France where Calment lived and determined it was fraudulent. He believes that Yvonne “borrowed the identity” of her mother in order to avoid “paying the inheritance tax.” Calment is believed to have been 99 when she died in 1997, researchers said.
If Calment’s record is canceled, an American, Sarah Knauss will be named the world’s oldest person. Knauss died in 1999 at the age of 119.