Jeanne Calment, world's oldest human being, might not have been 122 after all

Jeanne Calment died aged 122 in 1997, setting an unsurpassed human longevity record. But there is growing skepticism about her claimed age. The usual problem of poor 19th-century recordkeeping is not in play here: her family was well-off and the birth certificate is not in doubt. But specific problems pop up soon enough. First, details on her daughter's death certificate invite the suspicion the daughter adopted her mother's identity. Second, family photos were destroyed when requested by authorities. Third, in the decades since Calment passed away, a statistical curve of super-centenarian deaths has emerged that tapers cleanly in the 110s. Death at 122 is a conspicuous outlier from an increasingly well-populated distribution.

At times, Jeanne's inconsistencies could be quite telling. She would sometimes refer to her husband as "my father", or say that her mother's last name "Gilles" comes from her grandmother, although Jeanne did not have a grandmother with such last name. One of the most revealing things Jeanne said was that as a child she was taken to school by their maid, Marthe Fousson. However, according to a 1911 census, Marthe Fousson was 10 years younger than Jeanne, so the only person she could have accompanied to school was Yvonne, with whom she lived according to the same census.

My favorite "problem" is that her physical condition in the years before her death was consistent with people in their 90s, rather unlike other super-centenarians, implying a potential lifespan of more than 140 years had she not died so young.

(On the other hand, I don't find the mom-daughter photo stuff particularly convincing at all; but for a few hard details like ear shape comparisons, it reads to me like something from a Reddit comment thread)