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Guinness World Records 2005 Mass Market Paperback – Import, 26 April 2005

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Human beings


Extreme bodies


Tallest living man After seven measurements taken over the course of April 22-23, 1999 in Tunis, Tunisia, Radhouane Charbib's (Tunisia) height was confirmed as 7 ft. 8.9 in. (2.35 m).

Tallest woman Zeng Jinlian (China) measured 8 ft. 1.75 in. (2.48 m) when she died on February 13, 1982.

Tallest living woman When last measured, Sandy Allen (U.S.A.) was 7 ft. 7.25 in. (2.31 m) tall. Her birth weight was a normal 6 lb. 7 oz. (2.95 kg) but her abnormal growth began almost immediately. She stood 6 ft. 3 in. (1.9 m) by the age of 10 and was 7 ft. 1 in. (2.16 m) at the age of 16.

Shortest woman Pauline Musters (Netherlands, b. February 26, 1876), measured 12 in. (30 cm) at birth, and at nine years of age she was 21.5 in. (55 cm) tall and weighed 3 lb. 5 oz. (1.5 kg). When she died of pneumonia with meningitis on March 1, 1895 in New York City, U.S.A., aged 19, a postmortem examination showed her to be exactly 24 in. (61 cm). Her "vital statistics" were 18.5-19-17 in. (47-48-43 cm).

Shortest living woman Madge Bester (South Africa) is only 25.5 in. (65 cm) tall. She suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta (characterized by brittle bones and other deformities of the skeleton) and is confined to a wheelchair.

Heaviest man The heaviest person in medical history was Jon Brower Minnoch (U.S.A.), who had suffered from obesity since childhood. He was 6 ft. 1 in. (1.85 m) tall and weighed 392 lb. (178 kg) in 1963, 698 lb. (317 kg) in 1966 and 974 lb. (442 kg) in September 1976. In March 1978, Minnoch was admitted to University Hospital, Seattle, U.S.A., where consultant endocrinologist Dr. Robert Schwartz calculated that Minnoch must have weighed more than 1,399 lb. (635 kg), much of which was water accumulation due to his congestive heart failure.

Heaviest woman Rosalie Bradford (U.S.A.) is claimed to have registered a peak weight of 1,199 lb. (544 kg) in January 1987.

Living person with the largest hands Hussain Bisad (Somalia), who resides in the UK, has hands measuring 10.59 in. (26.9 cm) from the wrist to the tip of his middle finger.

Longest ear hair Radhakant Bajpai (India) has hair sprouting from the center of his outer ears (middle of the pinna) that measures 5.19 in. (13.2 cm) at its longest point.

Longest hair The longest documented hair belonged to Hoo Sateow (Thailand), a tribal medicine man from Muang Nga, Chang Mai, Thailand. On November 21, 1997, his hair was unraveled and officially measured at 16 ft. 11 in. (5.15 m) long. He stopped cutting his hair in 1929 at the age of 18.

Longest fingernails on a single hand The aggregate measurement of the five nails on the left hand of Shridhar Chillal (India) was 23 ft. 1.5 in. (7.05 m) on February 4, 2004. His thumbnail measured 62.2 in. (158 cm), his index fingernail 51.5 in. (131 cm), his middle fingernail 54.3 in. (138 cm), his ring fingernail 140 cm (55.1 in.), and his little fingernail 138 cm (54.3 in.). Chillal last cut his nails in 1952.

Largest chest measurement Robert Earl Hughes (U.S.A.) had a chest measurement of 124 in. (315 cm).


GWR TALKS TO Lee Redmond


Lee Redmond (U.S.A., pictured) holds the record for the longest fingernails. She hasn't cut her nails since 1979, and has grown and manicured them to a total length of 24 ft. 7.8 in. (7.51 m).

Why did you grow your nails?

I didn't want to--they were really healthy and I decided to grow them to see how long they'd get before they twisted out of shape. But they never did twist so I just grew them!

Would you ever cut them?

I trim them back once in a while, but cut them clear off? No way! Psychologists have said my nails were a shield I'd put up to stop men getting near me. And you know what? All my fans are male!

Have you ever bitten your nails?

Oh, I just couldn't imagine it! People chew their nails because they're lacking a certain mineral in their body. They tell me that if a bomb was to go off, I could go into a shelter and live off my fingernails!

Is it true that some people want to buy your nails?

Yeah--I turned down $10,000 when they were just nine inches (22.8 cm)! It was for a TV show--I was asked along with the lady with the longest hair. I didn't accept, but she had over 7 feet (2.13 m) of hair cut off! My nails are priceless!

What kind of reaction do your nails usually get? It used to be negative. Now, so many people have seen me in the Guinness World Records books and on TV shows, they're more amazed by them. People see the difference between my nails and those on the man from India (Shridhar Chillal, see p. xix), they want to know how I keep my nails looking so much better than he does.

So, what's your secret?

You are what you eat, for one thing--the nail is nothing but protein--so I eat high protein. But they get dry and brittle so I soak them in warm olive oil.

Do you worry about damaging them in your sleep?

No--they just hang off the side of the bed! I don't even think about it.

How do you get dressed?

My nails are like an extension of my fingers, so I just slide them down the sleeves as usual. Now that gravity has pulled my nails straighter they're much easier to slip through. I just can't put on anything that goes over my head because I can't coordinate putting my hands up and feeding the nails through, so everything has to come up over my bottom!

How does it feel to be in the book?

It's an honor. I get asked to sign a lot of books! I use them to teach self-esteem classes. I really think it helps kids: meeting me and seeing me in the books gets their minds going, knowing they can do anything.

One more question! How do you go to the bathroom?

That's usually the first question people ask! I usually say, "Very carefully . . . and I don't have hemorrhoids!"


Tallest man


The record for the tallest man ever was held by Robert Pershing Wadlow (U.S.A., pictured), who stood at 8 ft. 11.1 in. (2.72 m). His record is one of the most popular Guinness World Records and is recognized as a true classic.

Early days

Robert Pershing Wadlow (U.S.A.) was born at 6:30 a.m. in Alton, Illinois, U.S.A., on February 22, 1918 to Addie and Harold Wadlow (both U.S.A.). Robert was the eldest of five children. He had two sisters and two brothers, all of whom were of normal height and weight. His birth weight of 8 lb. 8 oz. (3.85 kg) gave no indication of the amazing growth that was to come. In fact, Robert grew at a normal rate until the age of two, when he underwent a double hernia operation. From then on, he grew at an astonishing speed, so that by the age of five he stood 5 ft. 4 in. (1.63 m) tall and weighed 105 lb. (48 kg). By the age of nine, he was able to carry his 5-ft. 11-in. (1.8-m), 169-lb. (77-kg) father up the stairs of the family home. With a peak daily food consumption of 8,000 calories, his greatest recorded weight was 491 lb. (223 kg) on his 21st birthday.

Robert's Guinness World Records

As well as being the tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence, he also holds Guinness World Records for the largest hands and feet. His hands measured 12.75 in. (32.3 cm) from the wrist to the top of his middle finger, and his feet were 18.5 in. (47 cm) long--his shoes were size 37AA. When he was 12 years old, doctors found that he had an overactive pituitary gland, the source of the human growth hormone somatotropin. Corrective surgery was dangerous and not guaranteed to work, so his parents let nature take its course.

Robert's everyday life

Robert tried to lead as normal a life as possible. He enjoyed photography and collecting stamps, and at 13 years old he became the world's tallest Boy Scout when he measured 7 ft. 4 in. (2.23 m). By the time he reached 18, he was 8 ft. 3.5 in. (2.53 m) tall--his clothing required three times as much cloth as normal-sized clothes and his massive size 37 shoes cost $100 a pair. Robert's younger brother Harold once recalled on Guinness World Records: Primetime how his brother went about his day-to-day living: "He had to duck to go through all doorways. No room on a bus, no room on a train, no seats, no airplane--everything was made for a person six feet tall or under. He probably wished that he wasn't as tall as he was and wanted a normal life, which he couldn't possibly live."

Incredible feet!

Robert had his shoes custom made by the International Shoe Company, and when he was aged 20 he was invited to become a goodwill ambassador for the firm. Robert and his father made an extensive tour around the western U.S.A., promoting the company who made his shoes free of charge. His brother Harold commented:


"He couldn't go anywhere without being stared at and drawing a crowd. Some people would bother him, you know, because of his height. They might come up behind him and pinch his leg or something else, you know, or even maybe try to kick him in the shins, make sure he wasn't on stilts."


When did he break the record?

Robert gained a place in the history books when he exceeded 8 ft. 3.5 in. (2.53 m) in 1936, beating the record held by Irishman Patrick Cotter O'Brien who measured 8 ft. 1 in. (2.46 m) before he died in 1806.

Why did he die so young?

Apart from the difficulties associated with his abnormal height, Robert was very healthy, but for many years he was troubled by medical problems with his huge feet. He had poor circulation in his long legs as well as limited sensation in his feet and did not feel any rubbing or chafing until blisters had formed.

In July 1940, when aged 22, Robert was provided with a brace designed to strengthen his ankles. However, the brace was poorly fitted and a septic blister formed on his right ankle. His poor circulation and lack of sensation meant that the blister went unnoticed for some days and by the time he arrived in Manistee, Michigan, a week later to make a guest appearance, a fatal infection had s...

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Product details

  • Publisher : Bantam (26 April 2005)
  • Language : English
  • Mass Market Paperback : 608 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0553588109
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0553588101
  • Item Weight : 295 g
  • Dimensions : 10.67 x 2.41 x 17.27 cm
  • Country of Origin : USA
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