It's been known for years that people of each subsequent generation have a tendency to be taller than the previous. The height of men has increased at a faster rate than that of women.
The Dutch are considered to have the tallest men, growing to an average height of 6 ft (183 cm). Latvian women are considered to be the tallest among women, with an average height of 5'7". At least, that's what the research carried out over the past 100 years in 187 countries indicates.
On the flip side, the shortest men in the world are in East Timor, with an average height of 5'3" (160 cm). The shortest women come in at 4'11" (149 cm) in Guatemala. However, the human trend in height increase remains.
According to experts, there are a number of factors for our height increase: a higher standard of living, better nutrition and constant advancements in medicine. But there have been a handful of extraordinary individuals over the years that have grown so tall their contemporaries could hardly believe they were real. Take a look for yourself:
1. Don Koehler, 8'2" (249 cm)
Born in 1925 in the US, Koehler was recognized as the tallest living person from 1969 until his death in 1981. His unbridled growth began at the age of 10, due to a medical condition known as acromegaly. It is characterized by increased secretion of growth hormone.
2. Bernard Coyne, 8'4" (254 cm)
Unofficial data indicate that his actual height was 8'4" (254 cm). Bernard was born in 1897 in the US with a condition known as infantile gigantism. He died in 1921, having continued to grow his entire life. It is unclear what height he may have attained had he lived to old age.
3. Vikas Uppal, 8'3" (251 cm)
Born in 1986 in Haryana, India, Vikas is celebrated as the tallest man in the country by his fellow countrymen. He gained worldwide recognition in 2006 but was never added to the Guinness Book of Records. Vikas died a year later, after a failed operation to remove a brain tumor.
4. Sultan Kösen, 8'3" (251 cm)
Kösen, born in Turkey, was entered into the Guinness Book of Records in 2009 as the tallest living man. After years of unsuccessful attempts, he found love in the face of Merve Dibo, who is 31 1/2″ (80 cm) shorter than him. Kösen has undergone successful treatment of the pituitary gland and has stopped growing. This has significantly increased his chances for a long lift and for reaching old age.
5. Édouard Beaupré, 8'3" (251 cm)
He was born in 1881 in a small Canadian town. One of the rare cases in which unusual height was combined with physical strength. Unfortunately, Beaupré passed away at the age of 23 from tuberculosis.
6. Väinö Myllyrinne, 8'3" (251 cm)
At the age of 40, the man born in 1909 in Helsinki weighed 434 lb (197 kg). Up until 1939, he toured Europe with a traveling circus troupe but returned to his serve his native Finland during the Winter War. He was the tallest man to ever serve in the Finnish Army. After retiring, he took up farming until his death in 1963.
7. Leonid Stadnyk, 8'5" (257 cm)
Leonid Stadnyk began abnormal growth at the age of 12 after undergoing a brain operation. He never married, wore US shoe size 24.5 and worked as a veterinary in the kolkhoz (a form of collective farm) of his native village. Those who knew him describe him as a good and kind man. Guinness offered to officially recognize his height but Leonid turned it down. In 2014, he died from a brain hemorrhage.
8. John Carroll, 8'8" (264 cm)
Born in 1932, Carroll would grow up to become one of the 17 known people in medical history to surpass a height of 7'10" (240 cm). Measuring his height accurately was difficult because he suffered from severe spinal curvature. Carroll's standing height was 8 feet (244 cm) in October 1959 but his true height would have been 8'8" (264 cm). When he died in 1969, it was found that he had shrunk, although this was not recorded in medical documents.
9. John Rogan, 8'9" (267 cm)
The 12th child of former slaves showed the first signs of abnormal growth at the age of 13. By the age of 20, he was so tall that he needed crutches in order to walk. Rogan died in 1905 and still remains the tallest African American on record.
10. Robert Wadlow, 8'11" (272 cm)
A seemingly normal and healthy baby boy was born on February 22, 1918. But just a few months later, he began to grow uncontrollably. At 6 months, the baby weighed 28.5 lb (13 kg) - twice the normal average. At 19, Wadlow stood at 8'7" (262 cm) tall and was declared the tallest man in the world. To walk, he had to wear specially-fitted braces on his legs. He became known as the gentle giant and renowned for his public appearances. Wadlow passed away at 22 in his sleep. At the time of his death, he was 8'11" (272 cm) tall and weighed 490 lb (222 kg.)
Photo credit: myfirstclasslife.com