How Tall Is the Tallest Person in the World?

Is your height all down to genetics, or can it be attributed to environmental factors such as nutrition? The truth is, only 20 to 40 percent of your height can be attributed to your environment, 60 to 80 percent is down to how tall your parents are. Heritability of height differs from one population to another since their genetic backgrounds and environments vary widely. So, how tall is the tallest person in the world? Read on to find out.

How Tall Is the Tallest Person in the World?

Tallest Man Alive: Sultan Kösen

According to the Guinness World Records, Sultan Kösen (Ankara, Turkey) is the tallest man alive. Measuring a whopping 8ft 3in (about 2.51m), Sultan became the first man to surpass the 8ft mark in over 20 years. There are only 10 confirmed cases of people measuring 8ft or more in history.

Sultan’s growth is caused by a condition known as pituitary gigantism. It is the result of the overproduction of growth hormones in the pituitary gland. The only way a person suffering from this condition can stop growing is by going through surgery to correct the anomaly in the pituitary gland. The condition is usually caused by a tumor in the gland as was the case with Sultan. Sultan finally stopped growing after going under the knife.

Tallest Man in History: Robert Pershing Wadlow

How tall is the tallest person ever lived in the world? The tallest man ever recorded was Robert Pershing Wadlow. He measured 8ft 11.1(about 2.72 m) in height in 1940. His shoes were 47 cm long, and his hands measured 34.4 cm from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist. Born in Alton, Illinois, Robert was able to carry his own father up the stairs when he was just 9 years old. His father weighed 170lb and was 5ft 11in.

Other Tallest Men in History

How tall is the tallest person in the world that ever lived? These people below were all the highest in their times:

  • John Rogan

Measuring 8ft 9½ in (2.68 m), John was the 2nd tallest male ever recorded in history. He was born in the United States in 1868 and weighed only 174 lb. He could not stand due to ankylosis. This is a condition that leads to abnormal rigidity and adhesion of the bones of joints as a result of disease or injury. He died in 1905.

  • John F Carroll

Born in the United States in 1932, John measured 8ft 0in standing and 8ft 7¾ in (2.63 m) when he assumed normal spinal curvature. He died in 1969.

  • Leonid Stadnyk

Standing at 8ft 5in (2.57m), the Ukraine born Leonid was not officially recognized by the Guinness Word Records since he did not want to be measured according to their standards. He was born in 1970 and died in 2014.

  • Väinö Myllyrinne

Standing at 8ft 3in (2.51m), Väinö held the record of the tallest living person between 1940 and 1963 when he died. He was born in Finland in 1909.

  • Édouard Beaupré    

Édouard was born in Canada in 1881. According to his death certificate, he was 8ft 3in (2.51m) tall. He was a professional wrestler and the tallest one in history.

Who’s the Tallest Woman in the World

When asking how tall is the tallest person in the world, we should not forget that women play a role, too.

Tallest Woman Alive

Sun Fang from China is thought to be the tallest woman alive. She measures 7 ft 3 in (2.21m). There are other women who claim to be taller, but have not been measured. She became the tallest woman alive after the death of Yao Defen in 2012. 

Tallest Woman in History: ZengJinlian

Zeng was born in China in 1964. She is the tallest woman ever recorded. Measuring 8ft 1.75in (2.48m), she is the only woman on record to surpass the 8 ft mark. Her full height was never recorded since she suffered from scoliosis, which prevented her from standing fully erect. Her growth patterns were eerily similar to those of Robert Wadlow, and she also died at a young age (only 17).

Other Tallest Women in History

Anna Haining Bates

Standing at 7ft 11in (2.43m), Anna is the second tallest woman ever and tallest during her lifetime. She was born in the United States in 1846 and died in 1888. She and her husband Martin were the tallest couple ever recorded.

Jane Bunford

Jane was born in the U.K in 1895 and is the 3rd tallest woman in history. At the time of her death, she was the world’s tallest person standing at 7ft 11in.

Yao Defen

Born in China in 1972 measuring 7ft 8in (2.34m) , Yao Defen was the world’s tallest living woman until her death in 2012.

Sandy Allen

Sandy was born in the United States in 1955 and measured 7 ft 7 ¼ in (2.32m) at her peak. She was listed as the tallest living woman by the Guinness Word Records until 2008 when she died.

Wassiliki Calliandjii

Holding the record for the 5th tallest woman ever recorded, Wassiliki was born in Greece in 1882 and measured 7f t 6½ in (2.31m). She dies in 1904 at only 21.

Why Do the Tallest Die Young?

Excessive height is usually attributed to a number of medical conditions. Gigantism, as mentioned earlier, is a condition that is caused by the malfunctioning of the pituitary gland. This leads to excessive growth hormone being released in the body. This causes a seemingly endless growth spurt. The condition affects adults, adolescents and children. If it happens in adults, the bones grow thicker since they can’t grow longer. This condition (acromegaly) is characterized by the thickening of bones in the hands, skull and feet. Treatment involves irradiation or removal. People with gigantism or acromegaly are prone to suffering from hyperglycemia. This is a condition characterized by the overactivity of insulin manufacturing cells in the pancreases. This eventually leads to diabetes.

Other conditions that can cause abnormal growth include Marfan, Sotos and Klinefelter syndromes. Mrafan is an inherited disorder of the connective tissues. Sotos is also thought to be genetic but has not been confirmed. Klinefelter occurs in males born with an extra x chromosome.  

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