Friday, January 2, 2009
The Gerontology Research Group is a Los Angeles based group of researchers who track the world's supercentenarians. The term supercentenarian was coined in the seventies to describe someone "well over one hundred years of age", though now refers to anyone who has lived past 110. Ironically, for a group whose central mandate is to verify birth records, their wikipedia page lists the organization as being founded in "either 1990 or 1992".
As of December 31st, 2008, the group is monitoring 91 supercentenarians - 82 women and 9 men. Today that number drops by one, with the death of Maria de Jesus in Portugal, who was born in September 10th, 1893, and was considered to be the world's oldest person. She worked in agriculture from the age of 12, never attended school or learned to read or write. Her daughter told reporters that she was never ill and had never taken medication.
The group now cites American Gertrude Baines, born April 6, 1894, as the world's oldest person.