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Jeanne Calment

This Wiki is about Jeanne Calment who is supposed to have lived to 122 years old and thus the oldest among Archicentenarians, but this is disputed.


Further reading:

French supercentenarian Jeanne Calment holds the world record for the oldest validated human [48,23,49]. Her validation has been disputed by Valery Novoselov, Nikolay Zak and others. We reaffirm here that we continue to dispute her case due to an ambiguity in her record which could allow for a mother-daughter identity switch [37,38]. Her original validators have demanded that their opponents provide proof of the switch [50]. However, it is a central tenet of longevity validation that the onus of proof is on the validators [30,31]. It is our assessment that the balance of evidence is strongly in favour of the identity switch having taken place [38].

The dispute over Jeanne Calment’s age is not based on the “impossibility” of her longevity. It may well be possible for someone to live beyond 122 years of age. The argument against her is that a specific identity switch scenario is found to be significantly more probable in a Bayesian analysis of the known evidence. In brief it is thought that both mother and daughter contracted tuberculosis which was considered shameful for people of their social standing. They tried to hide it and became trapped by signature fraud into a growing web of lies. This would be exposed as a scandal if the identity switch was not maintained. Financial advantages of the switch may also have been a motivating factor. Although the daughter Yvonne had probably suffered from tuberculosis until 1928, claims she continued to be seriously ill from 1929 to 1934 are not supported by later photos of her at a wedding, a costume festival, and a sanatorium in Leysin, while similar photos of her mother Jeanne are conspicuously missing. We believe it was the mother who died in 1934 and not the daughter as claimed.

Since our analysis was published we and others continue the research in a hope to further clarify the Calment’s case. We have found various new pieces of evidence which strongly reinforce the switch scenario proposed in [38]. In particular, several pieces of evidence confirm that Jeanne was a patient in the tuberculosis sanatorium Belvedere in Leysin in 1931 and the document of the purchase of villa in Paradou in 1933 by Jeanne shows a signature which looks different from a series of Jeanne’s signatures over the preceding years. This document was signed with the notary David who came to Arles after the previous notary who worked with Calments had retired. A new photo of Jeanne before 1934 was found and Robert Billot, a relative who knew Madame Calment since the late 1930s said that he is confident that this photo does not show the woman he knew as Jeanne. We continue to gather evidence and are looking forward to publishing it in the future.

After extensive debates, it seems unlikely that documentary evidence alone (including public records, photographs, testimony, and news reports) will be sufficient to resolve Jeanne Calment’s case to the point of forming a scientific consensus. DNA testing on the other hand is capable of settling the matter. It is known that Jeanne’s daughter Yvonne was the offspring of double second cousins. This would be identifiable in her DNA via an autozygosity test and would distinguish her from her mother with a high degree of certainty. Consanguinity tests with suitably chosen living relatives would also be deterministic.

DNA samples for Mme Calment were taken and kept by the Jean-Dausset foundation in Paris. Unfortunately, requests for access or even confirmation of their continued existence have so far been unanswered. A principle lesson to be learnt from this case is therefore that bio-samples taken should be held in trust under terms of use that are made public. It must be appreciated that DNA sequences hold enormous amounts of personal information about an individual and their close family. It may not be appropriate or even lawful to publish the whole genome sequence, but it could be made available for legitimate scientific investigations under suitable conditions. These would be imposed according to family wishes where close blood-related family remains.Jeanne and Yvonne were remarkably similar to Madame Calment but there were some key differences between Jeanne and Madame Calment as explained in the Photo analysis

Experts are welcome to analyze the available photos, all of which are undisputed except "J-1905" which could be another person
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Enhanced photos:

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