Science: High Hoax

Those not-so-old Ecuadorians

For years scientists have flocked to the Ecuadorian village of Vilcabamba, deep in the Andes, to study its amazingly vigorous people. Along with two similar mountain regions in the Soviet Caucasus and Pakistani Kashmir, Vilcabamba was believed to be populated by a large number of remarkably old inhabitants. A 1971 census listed 11.4% of the villagers in the over-60 category (compared with 4.5% elsewhere in rural Ecuador) and reported that nine of the 819 residents were 100 or older.

Not so, it turns out. At a National Institutes of Health workshop...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!