Thursday, September 08, 2005

Maybe not so old

I asked the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group about the report that Cruz Hernandez of El Salvador is the oldest living human at 127 years old. Their reply sheds real doubt on the claim:


This case is highly suspicious. It is almost certainly a mistake. For example, it was claimed that Cruz Hernandez had 13 children, and her oldest, if still living, would have been 90 years old.

Sorry, that doesn't add up. 127-90=37 years. So she had her first child at 37, before having 12 more? Extremely unlikely. In fact, astronomically unlikely: the odds of living to age 120 is about 1 in 10 billion. The odds of reaching 127? About 1 in a trillion. Simply impossible...

Most likely, Cruz Hernandez would be about 110 years old (90+20=110). At the time before adequate birth control, most women began having children around age 18-20.

Of course, we don't have proof that her son really lived to 90, either, or that the woman alive today is the one recorded in the documents. That the most recent documents were only issued in 2005 is also suspicious.

If anyone would like to prove me wrong, please do so. No age claim to older than 122 has ever been verified.

Sincerely,
Robert Young
GRG

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim,

For the record, my Salvadoran grandmother (who only lived to be 80) had had first (of 3) children when she was 34. No birth control (unless you consider old time religion a form of birth control).

Carlos (from San Romero)

Dark Savant0 said...

It may be the case that her official papers were lost in the civil war (in some provinces, all records were burned by either the government or rebel forces), so it is possible that she is in fact 128.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Your comment, "Of course, we don't have proof that her son really lived to 90, either." The article posted on La Prensa actually states, "Mrs. Cruz gave birth to 13 children, of which 5 are alive. Tomas the oldest, if alive today would be 90 years old, he was assasinated 4 decades ago."
Let's conduct more research before we go off claiming this to be fraudulent, she very may well be 128 years old. In today's world anything is possible

Tim said...

1. The comment about the age of her son is not my comment, but the comment of the Gerontology Research Group. The point is not whether or not he is alive, but that she suppposedly gave birth to him at age 37 or 38 and then had 12 more children. Thirteen children is not unusual in El Salvador. Thirteen children starting with your first at age 37 might not be credible.