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Fake News: Indian Cobbler claims to be 179 years old

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.
Death
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 29, 2014
Well as the name says, "museum of hoaxes" the home page is focused on the hoax everywhere...that´s their primary world view. And in some cases right, but this article seems to forget that there IS a birth certificate of the man...and even if that is a hoax, he´s registered to live in Varanasi since 1903. Since boys under 18 are registered with their parents, he must have been at least 18 at that time, which makes him at least to be born in 1885. So he is by math and logic, at least 129 years old. Fine to be critic and skeptic, but not for all costs and in spite of facts and reasons. NO, we don´t live in a world where everything is discovered, there´s alot of surprises and this might be one of them.
Posted by Klus  in  Denmark  on  Thu May 01, 2014  at  05:29 AM
Have you seen any birth certificate?? Or have you just read it??
Posted by Sanjay ashtamkar  in  Mumbai  on  Thu May 01, 2014  at  05:41 AM
Just read it, but it has been said that it has been checked, both that and the fact that he is registered to have moved in 1903 to Varanasi.
I see your point in "seeing it" but honestly....you can´t apply that to every thing. I myself have never been to America, so I have never seen it, I have to assume that America is there as everyone says it is.I have to assume Plutonium exists, although I have never seen it. I have to assume the declaration of Indipendence (american document) exists, and If people have cheched both his documents and Varanasi 1903 registry I have to assume it´s true. I can´t be 100% sure, but if it´s not true, it´s not gonna change my life radically, I must admit.

But you´re missing my point : don´t be skeptical no matter what, that closes your mind.
In late 1800 the scientists declared that NOTHING heavier than air could fly...guess what...bummer. In 1903 they were proved wrong. Be open, we have a universe still to discover
Posted by Klaus Pendolo  in  Denmark  on  Thu May 01, 2014  at  06:55 AM
...in the end my point is : it could be a hoax, but it´s not necessarily. A preassumption that whatever you read is right is as good as assuming that everything you read is wrong. Even if it sounds a bit absurd. The basic ground of science, is never deny anything until it´s proven wrong...or right. So, let´s take the scientific approach, and say that however unlikely, it´s not impossible. Progeria is a sickness (scientificly demonstrated and acknowledged) that leads to a very fast aging process (a 15 yeard old person can look as a 45 year old). If the genes can be affected that way, why not the other way? That could be a nice question to get an answer to. Maybe he could be the case....
Posted by Klaus Pendolo  in  Denmark  on  Thu May 01, 2014  at  07:02 AM
Klaus, have you not noted that it was the hoax site which claimed that there was a birth certificate? And that nobody else has been able to confirm that? It's a hoax. The certificate is a lie. There are no documents. As for science, science also says that extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof - and in this case, there being no certificate, there is no proof, and therefore this extraordinary claim can be dismissed out of hand.

As for progeria, it's something very different, and reversing it is a pipe dream, not dissimilar to some perpetual motion ideas.

(And the captcha is beating the Turing test again, this time coming up with "hundred19"...)
Posted by Richard Bos  in  The Netherlands  on  Thu May 01, 2014  at  08:48 AM
Why just dont you do some medical examination or do some carbon dating of that old guy??
Posted by why do you care about my name?  in  neptune  on  Mon May 05, 2014  at  01:42 AM
to the neptunian guy,
carbon dating would be the easiest way yes
and to all disbelievers,
it could be a hoax yes, but srsly, birth certificates in early india?
nope.. they should have carbon dated him after his death
Posted by Alex  in  Sagittari  on  Tue Jun 17, 2014  at  02:02 AM
You can't carbon date a bloke. That's not how it works. You could carbon date his corpse and that would tell you the date of his death. So yay...
Posted by Molden  on  Thu Jul 03, 2014  at  04:15 PM
I am from varanasi , does any one can give me the address of this old man , so that I can meet him; if yes plc provide me the address
Posted by prabha  in  varanasi  on  Sat Sep 13, 2014  at  03:36 AM
'In late 1800 the scientists declared that NOTHING heavier than air could fly...' well birds were lighter than air in 1800's Good
Posted by sreejith_rs  in  Kerala  on  Sun Nov 16, 2014  at  08:50 AM
Carbon dating isn't precise enough to find out how old someone is - the errors are too large.
Posted by issimon  in  london  on  Sun Nov 16, 2014  at  09:48 AM
I am always amazed at how willfully stupid some people are...

They take the position to trust and defend an unbelievable story on a site that states it is a fake news site outright (in the disclaimer), and then they come in here and argue that the story is real because a scientist said flight wasn't possible in the 1800s.

It shocks me that people are so quick to believe something unbelievable they read on a crappy, low-rent site and they never think, "Gee, I wonder why no major news outlet is covering this AND there are sites saying this story is a hoax."

If you believe the story about the old man, just know that you are a stupid, stupid person.
Posted by Edward  in  Miami, Florida, USA  on  Sun Nov 16, 2014  at  12:13 PM
Klaus just trying to say that anything can happen no matter what is advertised, even is this story isn't real, it doesn't mean any person on Earth can't have this story and it's not told to anyone and stays somewhere in silence. Don't get into the world where you believe what everyone is shown to believe. You can think in your own way. And as I see, when one person starts to do it, all this blank community tries to fight against his thoughts.. people grow up in your head. Stop arguing where you don't have to .. smile peace in world.
Posted by me  in  lithuania  on  Mon Nov 17, 2014  at  11:13 AM
What is new with 179 years of age if one is a Xtian and you believed the Bible that somebody lived about 900yrs. If technology has not allow people somewhere to live across 100 yrs does it make you to think that the person believing this is a fool or stupid? My last uncle died at 118 last 2yrs(2012) and i believed that people still lived above that. So please lets not abuse anybody here simply because somebody believed and the other does not believe. METHUSELAH lived 969yrs(Genesis 5:27) ...so y will u beliv dis bcos it's writen smwhere rigt?
Posted by Ubong  in  Nigeria  on  Mon Nov 17, 2014  at  02:27 PM
Xtian definitely translates to cross-tian not christian. lol
Posted by bruhh  in  USA  on  Mon Nov 17, 2014  at  02:38 PM
Merry Cross-mas. lol
Posted by jnr  in  Australia  on  Mon Nov 17, 2014  at  07:02 PM
The people who believe this should also believe me if i tell them to jump off a cliff and they will fly - there are so many morons in the world
Posted by Pete  in  here  on  Mon Nov 17, 2014  at  08:26 PM
I think this guy could be telling the truth if the papers are real then it would be one hell of an awesome thing to have someone that old living in the world.
Posted by guy  in  portland  on  Mon Nov 17, 2014  at  10:02 PM
Alright so this stupid internet photo is bullshit.

If you want something to actually to be able to sink your teeth into on the same subject, I give you Li Ching-Yuen.
Claimed to be 197 years old, records suggest he actually was 256 years old.
Old people do lie about their age. raspberry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Ching-Yuen
Posted by BobDull  on  Tue Nov 18, 2014  at  01:22 AM
Hold your seats tight guyz we are soon landing to stone age.
Posted by raj  in  India  on  Tue Nov 18, 2014  at  12:00 PM
Well, you gave your reasons but they did not seem to satisfy me. These were just mere assumptions with no evidence or proper facts so I would possibly still believe the news to be a true one.
Posted by Shaziq  in  Patna  on  Wed Nov 19, 2014  at  07:19 AM
you use wikipedia, enough said....

they also have a vampire on wikipedia that is over 230 years old called ANGEL, am i sposed to beleive that aswell?

get real Bob dull.
Posted by Dar Kuma  in  UK  on  Wed Nov 19, 2014  at  08:32 AM
Carbon dating cannot be used on a living organism. The test is based on the rate of carbon-14 decay in once-living tisses. AS long as an organism is alive, it takes in carbon-14, either from the air (if it's photosynthetic) or in its food (if it's not). Once the organism dies, it stops taking in carbon-14, which slowly decays into nitrogen-14 via beta decay. However, the carbon-12 doesn't decay, so the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 will gradually decrease over time after the organism dies. Therefore, the lower the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 (i.e. the longer it has been since the organism died), the older the sample. Since carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, testing the age of organic samples that are older than about 150,000 years is problematic, because by that time the carbon-14 in the sample would have decayed down to about 0.0002 percent of its value when the organism died.
Posted by Allen MacNeill  in  Ithaca, NY  on  Wed Nov 19, 2014  at  10:04 AM
I havent seen any reason for insults in this conversation. Maturity is necessary when u are dealing with ppl in an argument. Jeez. Its soo immature to throw insults and abuses just becos one does not believe in ur opinion or accept defeat. Whether the write up is true or false, it made a good line for an argument and atyms u challange ur interligence by arguing some obvious points. However are we saying that it is not possible 4 anyone 2 live 179 or are we particular about the man and his claims...? If we say anyone cannot then we are directly limiting God and that will be the most foolish kind of argument I would come across. Whatever it is pls lets grow up and not throw tantrums becos we feel our own point is better and superior. Note, anyone who can prove that an impossible thing is possible is a very intelligent one. Its an argument. Dont result to insults when u are out of points. Hellooooooo.
Posted by anonymous  in  Nigeria  on  Wed Nov 19, 2014  at  10:20 AM
"In late 1800 the scientists declared that NOTHING heavier than air could fly" guess they never saw a bird?
Posted by knalle  in  Europe  on  Wed Nov 19, 2014  at  10:40 AM
maybe he's part tortoise
Posted by abby  in  Somewhere in the US  on  Wed Nov 19, 2014  at  12:14 PM
Be skeptical about everything, especially if you hear that 'science has proved X' because that is not the language that scientists use. It is what newspaper reporters with a scant knowledge of what they are summarizing say about a well received, but limited paper describing evidence under certain conditions.
Posted by Tom  in  USA  on  Wed Nov 19, 2014  at  06:53 PM
You guys are arguing abt a person who does'nt exist. they have no clue who the person is in that picture or where the picture originated from..you'll get the same pic on many websites with different quote.. that says everything.
Posted by asif  in  mumbai  on  Thu Nov 20, 2014  at  04:35 AM



Smileys






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