Shirali Muslimov

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Shirail Muslimov (March 26, 1805-September 2, 1973) claimed to be the oldest person who ever lived.[1] He died at the alleged age of 168. This was 46 years older than Jeanne Calment, a French supercentenarian. She has been confirmed as being the oldest person who ever lived. Muslimov got pneumonia in 1972 and died in 1973. As the only evidence of his age Muslimov had a passport issued in 1939.[2] It showed him to have been born in the village of Barzavu in 1805.[2] He claims to have five generations of descendants.

Life[change | change source]

According to legend, Muslimov worked hard every day, up to 167 years. He did not smoke or drink. He ate fruits, vegetables, wholemeal bread, chicken broth, cheese and yogurt. He had several wives through his lifetime. Muslimov became ill with pneumonia between 1972 and 1973, but survived only to die later in 1973. Muslimov's story was picked up in 1973 by National Geographic Magazine.[3] The article told that on the occasion he still rode horses and tended an orchard planted in the 1870s. National Geographic later recanted on the claim. The same story was told by the Guinness Book of World Records, stated as unconfirmed along with other similar claims.[4] According to National Geographic, he had an 120-year-old wife whom he had married 102 years earlier. However according to his obituary, published by Time magazine, he was survived by his 107-year-old third wife.

Fame[change | change source]

The case of Muslimov became known in 1963. This is when a young photojournalist of TASS, Kalman Kaspiev, went to Barzavu to interview the centenarian. The story was picked up by the Soviet press, by the National Geographic, and by the Dannon company, which for promotional reasons suggested that the long life of Muslimov was linked to a diet of yogurt.

Some Gerontologists doubt his and other similar claims of extreme old age that come from this area.[5] Analysis of Soviet census records show the lifespan in this area is no more than the expected 115 years for all other populations.[5] Muslimov is one of several men to claim extreme longevity. There are twice as many super-long-lived men as women in this area.[5] This is the opposite of all other populations where women usually outlive men.[5] While there are no accurate records to prove his age, his story captured public attention.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Alexander Leaf, (Jan. 1973). "Search for the Oldest People". National Geographic, pp. 93-118.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Peter Young, (Sep. 16, 1966). "Yes, Death is Afraid of Us". Life magazine, pp. 124–127.
  3. Alexander Leaf, (Jan. 1973). "Search for the Oldest People". National Geographic, pp. 93-118.
  4. The Guinness Book of Records, 1974
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 R. Arking (2006). The Biology of Aging: Observations and Principles. Oxford: Oxford University Press.pp. 330–31.
  6. Nancy N. Chen, Food, Medicine, and the Quest for Good Health: Nutrition, Medicine, and Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. p. 1935

Other websites[change | change source]