Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Long and Short of It

Above right: Yao Defen, 7'9", of China.

Jyoti Amge, of India, 23 inches

And for Bobbe, Heather Greene, above left, who is only 6'5", but who makes it to 7'2" in heels ...

Above, right: The world's tallest man, Sultan Kosen, of Turkey, at 8'1";
next to the world's shortest man, He Pingping, from China, at 29 inches.

And the tallest man ever? Nobody knows for sure, but in modern times, Robert Wadlow:


EvMick said...

Very interesting.

It would appear that size-wise people's sizes can vary over a similar magnitude as do dogs.

I've always been fascinated that dogs can vary in size from the tiny chihuahua to the great dane.

In the Bible (somewhere) they talk about giants ...."in those days there were giants" if there were a race of really large folks.

goliath was...well....big.

How big can a person get?

Gravity, bone strength, etc, etc.

Big dogs live shorter lives than small ones....does the same hold true with people?

Steve Perry said...

Medically-speaking, giants and dwarves have a number of medical problems. Lot of them don't make it out of their twenties.

On the giant side, human bone strength, joints, cardiac output, and other systems seem to top out between nine and ten feet, and weight matters.
Past a certain size, the structure won't support itself.
You can be really tall, but not proportionate, and often weak physically. (The woman who is six-five with the big hooters weighs over three hundred pounds, but looks fairly proportional. Pituitary acromegaly distorts the features in adults -- faces and hands keep growing even if the height stabilizes.)

The tallest kid ever, in the video, died at twenty-two, from an infected blister caused by a rubbing leg brace he couldn't feel. Circulation and nerve conduction tends to fail. Much over seven and a half feet, you get past the point of healthy function.

Because Wadlow never hit puberty -- hormones were bollixed up -- he kept increasing in height. Had his joints held out, he might have grown another foot, but he probably wouldn't have been able to walk. Living bone can only get so dense.

On the small end, same problems -- blood constituents are the same size, but the vessels aren't. Not every organ system miniaturizes the same way, and the disparity causes malfunctions.

Neither case leads to longevity.

Dojo Rat said...

Funny, I did a post on this also!

Steve Perry said...

Great minds and all, John.