[Click here for video.] If Bolivia’s public records are to be believed, Carmelo Flores Laura is the oldest living person ever documented, at 123 years old.
The native Aymara lives in a straw-roofed dirt-floor hut in an isolated hamlet near Lake Titicaca at 13,100 feet, is illiterate, speaks no Spanish and has no teeth.
He walks without a cane and does not wear glasses. “I see a bit dimly. I had good vision before. But I saw you coming,” he told an Associated Press journalists who visited after a local TV report touted him as the world’s oldest person.
Hobbling down a dirt path, Flores greets them with a raised arm, smiles and sits down on a rock. His gums bulge with coca leaf, a mild stimulant that staves off hunger. Like most Bolivian highlands peasants, he has been chewing it all his life.
Guinness World Records says the oldest living person verified by original proof of birth is Misao Okawa, a 115-year-old Japanese woman. The oldest verified age was 122 years and 164 days: Jeanne Calment of France, who died in 1997. Read more here.
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