If Bolivia's public records are correct, Carmelo Flores Laura is the oldest living person ever documented. They say he turned 123 a month ago. The native Aymara lives in a straw-roofed dirt-floor hut in an isolated hamlet near Lake Titicaca at 13,100 feet; he's illiterate, speaks no Spanish, and has no teeth. He walks without a cane and doesn't wear glasses. And though he speaks Aymara with a firm voice, one must talk into his ear to be heard. "I should be about 100 years old or more," he tells AP journalists who visited after a local TV report touted him as the world's oldest person. But his memory is dim.
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. The director of Bolivia's civil registrar, Eugenio Condori, showed the AP the registry that lists Flores' birthdate as July 16, 1890. (A Guinness rep says it isn't aware of a claim being filed for the Bolivian.) To what does Flores owe his longevity? "I walk a lot, that's all. I go out with the animals," he says. "I don't eat noodles or rice, only barley." Click for more. (Read more Bolivia stories.)