Sunday, February 04, 2007

How Old Was Alberta?

When she died last week, Alberta Davis of Georgia was 125 years old. Or maybe 109. Possibly 118.

It's not exactly clear how old Mrs. Davis, who picked cotton as a child and later worked as a maid, actually was. Her funeral program lists her professed birth date of Dec. 24, 1881, meaning she would have celebrated her 125th birthday this past Christmas Eve. The family says Social Security records back that claim, but they have no birth certificate and a family Bible was destroyed in a fire. Last year, Robert Young, a Georgia State University graduate student who researches the very old for gerontology research centers and the Guinness record books, concluded she could have been as young as 109. A bone doctor who examined Mrs. Davis last year estimated she was 118, [granddaughter Meaner] Turman said. [Link]
That is one talented bone doctor. Did he use carbon dating or saw her in half and count the rings?

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