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Standing Tall: Wadlow & Jinlian


Robert Wadlow (February 22, 1918 July 15, 1940) was the tallest person in history, based on irrefutable evidence. Sometimes known as the Gentle Giant, he was born and grew up in Alton, Illinois.

Wadlow reached a height of 8 feet 11.1 inches in height and a weight of 490 pounds, showing no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death at age 22. His great size and continued growth in adulthood was due to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone.

In turn, Zeng Jinlian (June 26, 1964 February 13, 1982) was the tallest female in medical history. She lived in Hunan, China.

At the time of her death at age 17 from diabetes, she was 8 feet 1.75 inches tall but could not stand up straight due to a severely deformed spine.

For more information about super-tall people (confirmed and unconfirmed), consider the TheTallesMan.com website. It includes a lot of interesting information.

Now, for the sake of a problem, suppose human bodies are proportional. Consider your height and sex in forming responses to these questions...

  • What would be the size of Wadlow's (or Junlian's) feet?
  • What would be the length of Wadlow's (or Junlian's) hand, from base of palm to tip of outstretched middle finger?
  • What would be the circumference of Wadlow's (or Junlian's) head?
  • What would be the average length of Wadlow's (or Junlian's) single step?
Once you have done your calculations and estimates, do some careful searches and perhaps you can learn the actual measurements.