LERIK, Azerbaijan-Something appears to be keeping people in this breathtaking mountain village alive longer than anywhere else on Earth. It could be the clean water, the bracing air or a life of back-breaking labor.

It might be luck, and it's probably genetics. But it isn't yogurt. Despite well-known American commercials in which the people of this Caucasus mountain region were said to attain their legendary longevity by eating yogurt, the stuff is not very popular here.

"I never eat it," Mirzahan Movlamov said dismissively. "Never."

In his case, never is a long time. At 121, Movlamov is the oldest man in a village famous for centenarians and, according to his birth documents, one of the oldest people in the world. He lives in a bare room with his third wife (nearly half a century younger than he is) and is usually surrounded by dozens of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.