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Was oldest woman in the world a fraud?

Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 11:56:26-05

Did a little old French lady lie about her age? Two Russian scientists say so.

French documents show that Jeanne Calment lived to be 122-years-old. But in a study published in a Russian math journal, a mathematician and a gerontologist dispute that and say Calment's daughter assumed her mother's identity in the 1930s to avoid paying substantial inheritance taxes.

The Russian study also cites discrepancies in the color of Calment's eyes, her height and the shape of her forehead.

Documents show Calment married a distant cousin and outlived her daughter, Yvonne, who died in the 1930s. She also outlived her husband and her grandson and died on August 4, 1997.

One of the French scientists who validated Calment's age said the stir caused by the study is a "ridiculous controversy."

The Russian mathematician said if Calment did in fact live to be 122, she would have been much shorter due to the way a person shrinks as they age.

He also said a motive for the fraud is clear; to avoid hefty French inheritance taxes.