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Telling Tall Tales by Nigel Roth

Dernière mise à jour : 3 mars 2021

In 1918, as the Eastern United States was losing its last ever native Carolina parrot, which had been taken from its natural environment and doomed to live out it’s last peckings in a wholly-unnatural cage at Cincinnati Zoo, Robert Pershing Wadlow was born.

You might know him, of course as the tallest person who ever lived.

An Illinoian from Alton, near St Louis, Wadlow grew to the astonishing height of 2.72 meters, and a grand weight of one-hundred-and-ninety-nine kilos.

He died aged twenty-two, but not before he was measured accurately and photographed widely, and stared at and watched like a Carolina parrot in an Ohio prison.

The irony is, of course, that we don’t actually know if he was the tallest person ever.

We do know, though, that the Gundam Robot, standing at eighteen meters tall, is the tallest robot in the world, and probably ever. Taking its style cues from the 1970s anime series, Mobile Suit Gundam, the robot walked just last month to it’s new home in the port of Yokohama, Japan, where it'll reside happily, and be admired.

But it’s not yet a complete human, and we have at least four other men with a claim to that tallest title, whose height was not officially recorded.

There’s the American John Aasen, for example, whose Norwegian ancestors were particularly tall, his mother said to have been 2.20 meters herself. Illegitimate at birth, and an orphan by twelve, he became a silent movie actor and sideshow performer, thanks to his claimed height of 2.74 meters.