The world’s oldest person record stood for decades. Then came a Russian conspiracy theory.

The email came just hours into the new year, landing in the inboxes of the two renowned French gerontologists who had validated the age of the oldest person ever documented in the modern world.
Also copied was the consultant who analyzed age-related cases for the Guinness World Records, which had given Jeanne Calment the title before she died at 122 in 1997.
“Colleagues, take action, take evidence for verification,” read the email, from the account of Russian doctor Valery Novoselov, continuing in cryptically rendered English. “Otherwise, there will be many people who will want to participate in this show.

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