WEIRD NEWS
05/18/2011 07:04 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

Maria Gomes Valentim Named Oldest Living Person: Guinness World Records Taps 114-Year-Old Brazilian To The Honor

Meet Maria Gomes Valentim. At 114 years and 313 days, she's the oldest living person, according to Guinness World Records.

The oldest living title is often won through attrition, but the Brazilian great-great-grandmother dethroned Besse Cooper from Monroe, Ga., after researchers determined Valentin was born 48 days before Cooper in 1896.

"To receive a claim from a woman born during the reign of Queen Victoria –- before the Ford Motor Company was formed, or before even George and Ira Gershwin, were born -– is remarkable in itself," said Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday in a statement. "But for that woman to be Brazilian makes it extra special. Never has a successful claim for longevity emerged from Brazil...until now.”

Valentin hails from Carangola, Brazil, a mountain town several hours north of Rio de Janeiro. The supercentenarian and her family proved her age to Guinness researchers by providing them with her birth certificate, marriage license and a current photo ID.

Valentin and her husband, who died in 1946, had one son. She has four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

Stephen Coles, a biochemistry professor at UCLA who studies old age and is an official at the Gerontology Research Group, told AOL Weird News that Brazil has been one of the toughest countries to validate ages of people claiming to live well beyond 110 years.

"We heard about Maria for a while in the Brazilian media, but the problem with the Brazilian media is they're not very reliable," he said. "They're seduced very easily by claims that people are 120 or 130 years old."

Coles, who works with Guinness on verifying claims of old age, said it took two to three months to come to a conclusion on Valentin, partially because she lives in a remote area.

Check out more Guinness World Records below:

Subscribe to the Weird News email.
Truth is stranger than fiction. Step into the world of weird news.