A news story is circulating claiming that the man in this photo is a 179-year-old Indian cobbler named Mahashta Murasi. The text of the article is as follows:
A retired cobbler from northern India, Mahashta Murasi, claims he was born in January 1835, making him not only the oldest man on earth, but the oldest to have ever lived, according to the Guiness World Records.
According to indian officials, the man was born at home in the city of Bangalore on January 6th 1835, and is recorded to have lived in Varanasi since 1903. He worked as a cobbler in the city until 1957, when he retired at the already venerable age of 122.
"I have been alive so long, that my great grand-children have been dead for years" explains Mr Murasi. "Somehow death forgot about me... And now there's hardly any hope left. Look at the statistics, nobody dies past 150, even less at 170. At that point, I guess I'm immortal or something. I might as well enjoy it!"
The man's birth certificate and identity cards all seem to confirm his version, but unfortunately no medical examination can confirm his saying for now. The last doctor Mister Murasi visited died in 1971, so there is little information available about his previous medical files.
The article is circulating widely on foreign-language sites in particular (Italian, Portuguese
, Spanish, etc.) where it's being posted unquestioningly as fact. But, of course, not a word of this story is true.
The source of the article is the fake-news site worldnewsdailyreport.com
, which has a disclaimer
buried on their site, identifying all their articles as fiction.
However, World News Daily Report didn't create the picture of the old man. They simply found it online, where it's been circulating for many years. At various times, the photo has been turned into a meme. However, I've been unable to locate the original source of the image. So I can't identify who the man in the image really is.
But assume that World News Daily Report hadn't invented the entire story. Would it have been possible for the story to have been true? Could someone live to be 179? Well, there have been cases of extreme age reported. However, they usually turn out to be cases of age exaggeration, which is a well-known phenomenon. As people get older, into their 80s and 90s, they often start to exaggerate their age, because being thought of as older is a way to enhance their status within the community. This strategy works especially well when there are no birth records to contradict whatever age the person is claiming to be. So it's relatively common to have cases of people falsely claiming to be supercentenarians (older than 110). The most notorious case of this occurred during the 1970s in the Ecuadorian town of Vilcabamba
, where numerous people were claiming to be supercentenarians, although subsequent research discredited their claims. None of them were older than 96.
The oldest person on record, whose age was well documented, was Jeane Calment of France
, who reached the age of 122. She died in 1997.