(NEWSER) - It's the kind of story you really want to believe: According to Bolivia's public records, Carmelo Flores Laura turned 123 years old last month, making him the oldest living person ever documented. CNN, however, advises you take the news with a grain-or spoonful-of salt, this after it actually saw the government documents that establish Flores' July 16, 1890 birth date.
It, along with KPCC, runs down five reasons why Flores is probably a good decade or two younger than is being claimed:
- Though Flores has a birth certificate and a national identity card bearing his birth date, neither are original. Bolivia didn't keep records of live births in 1890.
- In what CNN describes as a "red flag," Flores is a man. Gerontologist Stephen Coles (who actually looks into these claims for the Guinness Book of World Records) says the lion's share of supercentenarians are women. He notes that just two of the 57 people verified to having lived past 110 are male, with the oldest man on record having lived to 116.
- The Gerontology Research Group that Coles heads up tracked down what it says is Flores' baptismal certificate-which establishes his age as an impressive but not record-setting 107.
- He not only still walks at 123, but does so without a cane.
- His sole living child is 67-that's a pretty significant generation gap.
This supercentenarian male, however, has had his impressive age verified.
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