Officials in Kazakhstan say they have a found a woman who will this week celebrate her 130th birthday, making her 16 years older than the oldest known human currently living.
Sakhan Dosova - a mother of ten - says she has never visited a doctor nor eaten sweets. She is addicted to cottage cheese and puts her longevity down to her sense of humour.
Her remarkable age came to light during a census in Karaganda in northern Kazakhstan. Demographers were astonished to find that she was also on Stalin's first census of the region in 1926 when her age was given as 47.
Her date of birth is said to be 27 March 1879, and it is clearly shown on her documents including her Soviet era passport and independent Kazakhstan identity card.
Until the recent census, however, her fame did not extend beyond her far-flung city.
While some Kazakh officials are pressing for more detailed checks on her claim, fearing the country could face ridicule if it is shown to be false, she has no doubts and is basking in her new found fame.
'I don't have any special secret,' she said. 'I've never taken pills and if I was ill, I used granny's remedies to cure me.
'I have never eaten sweets, I don't like them. But I love kurt (a salty dried cottage cheese) and talkan (ground wheat).'
Gaukhar Kanieva, 42, her grand-daughter, said: 'She is a very cheerful woman. We think laughter and her good mood helped her live so long.'
Nailya Dosayeva, head of social and demographical department of Karaganga regional statistics bureau, said there is no doubt that her claim is authentic.
'Sakhan Dosova was found during our census held in February and March. She has an old passport and documents which are genuine, and based on these we can judge her age as being correct.'
The local mayor Islam Togaybayev went to visit her 'to personally congratulate her on such an achievement and show his respect', said his spokesman.
If Sakhan's year of birth is accurate, it means she was born when Queen Victoria still had 22 more years to rule in Britain and Disraeli was prime minister.
It was the year that Stalin and Einstein were born, the Anglo-Zulu war started, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published his first story.
The year 1879 also saw Edison present his new invention - the light bulb - while the ill-fated last tsar of Russia was just 11 years old.
She was ten when Hitler was born, 38 when Lenin led the Russian Revolution, and reached retirement age, 60, the year the Second World War began.
The old woman lives in poor conditions in an overcrowded flat with one of her granddaughters, though she is said to be in good health apart from some problems with her hearing.
According to one account of her life, twice-married Sarkan was widowed at the Battle of Stalingrad during the Second World War. Only three of her children remain alive.
Officially, the oldest living person in the world is American Edna Parker of the US at 114.
Some Kazakh bureaucrats want more checks to be done to ascertain the accuracy of her claim, pointing out that birth records in Kazakhstan in the 19th century are notoriously unreliable.
'We can see that this is turning into a big story and for the sake of our country, we need to be sure her claim is correct,' said one official.
According to one version of her life, she must have given birth to several children over the age of 60, he said.
'There is no doubt she is very old. But is she really 130? Or was there a white lie long ago which was never corrected? We need to find out.'
The central Asian state is only now recovering from damage to its reputation caused by Sacha Baron Cohen's film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Senior state statistician Lyudmila Kolesova said: 'We're checking the authenticity of the data on her case.'