5 Fascinating Facts About Giants – Top5s
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5 Fascinating Facts About Giants

16 Jul 2018

The common perception of a mythical Giant today is a supersized human, often with a fierce temper and super strength. This image has been conjured up in our imagination through popular children’s stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant-killer and an altogether friendlier and more intelligent giant such as Roald Dahl’s BFG and Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver”. However, these are just fictional characters that feature in books and movies. So here we look at where this image has come from and whether the mythical giant was actually just a human of huge stature. 

5The Tallest Man Alive Today

In order for us to research the mythical giant we all envision, it’s important to understand the real life human giant…The tallest current living person in the world is Thirty-four-year-old Sultan Kosen from Turkey, and he is currently the fifth tallest human that is known to have ever lived, not including mythical giants…

Sultan’s great height as with other real-life giants is a result of a tumour that affects his pituitary gland. But luckily for Sultan, he has benefited from the miracles of advanced medical techniques and the tumour was removed to stop him growing any taller. It’s now thought that he has reached his final height of 8 foot 3 inches!.

The tallest human in recorded history was an American man called Robert Wadlow, who in 1940 was an incredible 8 feet 11.1 inches tall, he was known as the Giant of Illinois…..sadly his unbelievable height resulted in his early death at the age of just 22.

But with the real life medical condition of being a giant understood, let’s move onto the mythical aspect, and see if huge people did exist…

 

4Historical Giants

Giants have been talked about since the dawn of time by all civilisations and cultures including Norse, Greek, Indian, Mayan, Aztec and Inca mythology. Even the Bible states giants once existed, and through the centuries archaeologists have uncovered fossil evidence of their existence…The giants of Crete have featured in various historical accounts, with Titan and Gigantus being Greek mythological giants, also the holiday island of Rhodes is said to of once been inhabited by giant people…

Then there is Goliath, who was allegedly killed by David. It is said that members of Goliath’s family are recorded as having six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Over the years fossil evidence has also emerged..including the bone fragments of the so-called Giant of Castelnau….. In 1890 Georges Vacher de Lapougehe discovered three bones, a tibia, humerus and femoral midshaft; in sediment used to cover a Bronze age burial mound at Castelnau-le-Lez, France. De Lapougehe believed the bones belonged to the largest humans ever to exist and estimated from the size of the bones that they would be at least 11 foot 5 inches tall. Interestingly though; either no one believed him, or he fabricated the truth….. as no modern analysis of the find has ever been published.

Just a few years after this alleged discovery stories circulated that another set of giant human bones had been unearthed at a prehistoric cemetery in Montpellier, France. Skulls measuring up to 32 inches in circumference were reported alongside other bones of massive proportions which indicated they belonged to a race of humans between 10 and 15 feet tall. The bones were sent to the Paris Academy for further study, but no further information was released.

However more evidence was found recently… In 2016  archaeologists began digging at a 5,000-year-old Neolithic settlement in Jiaojia, China and along with a trove of fascinating artefacts, they also unearthed a graveyard that contained bodies of humans that were between 5 foot 9 and 6 foot 2 inches. Now although that doesn’t sound that tall, for the period that they lived it would have been very large considering the average height at that time was only 5 to 5 and a half foot…

 

3Giant Internet Hoaxes

Over the years the internet has been rife with discoveries of Giant Human Bones and huge skulls that allegedly proved the existence of giants, however as with a lot of things on the internet they are pretty much all hoaxes…..so let’s look at a few of the more well-known ones.

The Cardiff Giant was one of the most famous deceptions in the world; it was reported that in October 1869 workers digging a well on the grounds of Williams Newell’s home in Cardiff, New York unearthed a 10-foot fossilised man…People flocked to get a glimpse of the giant and were initially charged 25 cents per view; however demand was so great, this increased to 50 cents..

Less than a year later, and after making a considerable amount of money the whole thing was revealed to be a hoax; the brainchild of New York tobacconist George Hull who decided to create the giant after a religious argument about the existence of them. The so-called Giant was crafted out of Gypsum; a soft sulphate material and deliberately planted on Newell’s property in preparation for its discovery by workers.

Giant Skulls

There are a selection of so called Giant Skulls and Skeletons that have surfaced on line, all of which have been proved to be fake here is just a small selection of the many out there…

Supposedly found in India in 1930 after dismantling an ancient temple, check out the very modern tee shirts! Great photo but very much fake…

 

Below a giant Skull found in Brazil, very obviously photoshopped!

 

And finally an arial view of a giant skeleton found in Saudi Arabia, alledgedly!

 

Giant foot print

Now this one hasn’t been completely debunked… It was discovered in 1912, by hunter Stoffel Coetzee while he was hunting in a remote area near the town of Mpekuzi in South Africa. It is thought to be between 200 million and 3 Billion years old and is a near perfect giant foot formation in granite. Since its discovery, Geologists have been marvelling over the four-foot long impression….. and the consensus is it is a natural erosion pattern, but many think it is a reference to an early giant that has been lost in time…

 

2Giantism

It is widely accepted in medical circles that if there were historical giants, they would almost certainly have been humans suffering from the rare disorder known as Gigantism, a condition that results in increased levels of growth hormone, usually due to abnormal tumour growths on the pituitary gland like the two people we first talked about…It causes the unnatural growth of the hands, feet and face and in rare cases can be passed on genetically. The result of excessive amounts of growth hormones means children with the disorder grow to heights well above average, often towering above their peers…

People with Gigantism will grow to between 7 feet and 9 feet in height, and the condition can affect both men and women. Those afflicted by the disease often find themselves as social outcasts, due to their extreme height and until recently have suffered from multiple health problems as the strain of supporting such a large, heavy body places abnormal demands on both the bones and heart.

In the past some found themselves employment in freak shows or in Friedrich Wilhelm’s famous Potsdam Giants regiment.

But thankfully in this day and age, they are treated more like celebrities….

1Real Life Giants

The question of whether giants exist or whether they join the realm of mythical creatures is a difficult one…. If you think of a giant as a creature who is tall, strong and usually cruel and terrifying then that is probably a myth. But if the definition of a Giant is someone who is much taller and larger than the average human being then they definitely do exist, an early example of a man with Giant proportions was Maximinus Thrax(Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus Augustus), also known as emperor Maximinus I, who was an Emperor of Rome in years 235-238. His bust depicts him as a man of immense size, exhibiting large eyebrows, nose and jaw and his thumb was purportedly so large, that he often wore a bracelet of his wife’s as a ring

According to historian Cordus….Thrax was approximately 8 foot 6 inches tall and was so strong that he could pull a fully loaded ox cart on his own and while the exact size of Maximinus will never be known, he was likely to have been a man of gigantic proportions and significantly taller than the average Roman citizen of his time.

Now we have mentioned Robert Wadlow, a huge man who was known to be suffering from Gigantism. But a guy called Angus MacAskill wasn’t… and he was the tallest natural Giant in history, he was a Scottish born Canadian and stood at 7ft 9 inches; with a chest measurement of 80 inches…..the largest recorded of any non-obese man ever, often referred to as Giant MacAskill or Black Angus he lived between 1825 and 1863.

John Rogan was the second tallest person ever to live after Robert Wadlow….. he was born in Tennessee in 1865, and his growing spirt started when he was 13 years old, when he grew at an incredible rate, and this led to the development of ankylosis (stiff joints) that left him unable to walk. By 1899 he was 8 feet 6, with, 11-inch hands and 13-inch feet, and at the time of his death in 1905 he was 8 feet nine inches tall……He was the tallest African American ever, and  such was the fascination with him that when his body was buried in Sumner County, Tennessee, it was placed under concrete panels, to prevent anyone from exhuming him and examining his remains.

And it is not just men that can be tall; Zeng Jinlian was the tallest female in medical history, measuring 8 ft 1.75 in, surpassing the previous tallest woman Jane Bunford who was 7 feet 11 inches. Zeng was born in China on June 26, 1964, and started growing rapidly at just four months old and by the age of four was over five foot, she averaged 5 inches growth every year and like many of the people we have mentioned suffered from gigantism, her extreme height contributed to her early death at the age of just 17.

 

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