Nine siblings on the island of Sardinia have officially taken the record as the world's oldest; the total number of years they share is 818, with the oldest sibling at 105. The Melis family has been recognized by the Guinness World Record team after a seven-year verification tour around the world.
Consolata is 105-years-old and has nine children, 24 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Her birthday was just yesterday and was well-attended by loved ones, including her eight siblings, who range in age from 99 to 78.
The family all live in Sardinia, and still actively participate in their community, with 89-year-old Adolfo running the local bar and 99-year-old Claudia still attending mass. They are in a prime area that is known for longevity, researchers say; Sardinia has been home to some of the oldest people in the world.
"On the one hand it is about genetics, about inherited longevity… but there is also the bounty of the land and the local fruit, particularly pears and prunes," Luca Deiana, professor of clinical biochemistry, told reporters.
The previous set of world's oldest siblings were Marjorie Ruddle and Dorothy Richards, who had a combined age of 213. The pair live in the United Kingdom but currently live apart; Ruddle now resides in a nursing home, while Richards lives in a nearby retirement home.
They learned of their record-breaking achievement in June and celebrated with a tea party attended by their families. The sisters were "a little embarrassed" by all the attention, Ruddle noted.
"Really, all we wanted was to get the two of together," Ruddle's daughter, Pat Comber, told Guinness. "They haven't seen each other for three years because my mother has a slight disability and my aunt is quite frail."
When asked what the secret to a long life was, Ruddle quickly replied, "Hard work!"