Have you heard of Öndör Gongor? He was the tallest man in the 20th century. Born in Mongolia, he measured at 236cm (7’9ft). Some sources give him height of 245cm, or 8 feet.
But how does he compare to the men we have nowadays? Does he remain the tallest man in the 21st century as well? Or does he fall down?
Let’s take a look at his life and how he compares to the giants of the 21st century.
Born between 1880 and 1885, Gongor was the giant of the 20th century. His real name is Pureviin Gongor. Öndör suffered from gigantism. He was measured by Roy Chapman Andrews at 7’9”, or 236cm. He is known all over Mongolia, with many people having pictures with him. There are also some accounts of him by western travelers.
According to an interview with his daughter, published in 1997, he was the third child of a herder named Purev. He lived in the Dalai Choinkhor wangiin khoshuu, or what is today the Jargalant sum of Khovsgol aimag.
The funny thing is that he was not particularly big as a child. He only had long fingers. But because he ate a lot, he became unpopular with his parents, and they eventually sent him away.
He was summoned to the Bogd Khan, given fresh clothes, and after a while made to marry a woman as one of the Bogd Khan’s seamstresses on the ground.
There are many different sources regarding his occupation. Some say his occupation at the Bogd Khan’s court was accountant and keeper of the elephant. Others claim he was a bodyguard or wrestler. And later he traveled to Russia with a delegation and even worked at the toll office.
He had four children and died in his home in the late 1920s. Öndör died before reaching the age of 50. Some sources even claim his corpse is said to have been stolen during the funeral. At the time of his death, the deceased were laid out in the steppe to be devoured by birds and other animals.
Now that we know his life story, let’s talk about how he compares to the modern giants. Today, he is not even in the top 30 tallest men in the world.
Here are the top five tallest men in the world.
- Robert Wadlow from the US, 8’11” (272cm), considered the tallest human in recorded history by Guinness World Records
- John Rogan, US, 8’9” (267cm), second tallest man, weight only 204lbs (92.5g), and was unable to stand due to ankyloses
- John F. Carroll, 8’7 ¾” (263.5cm), he measured only 8ft in standing height, but more in assuming normal spinal curvature
- Leonid Stadnyk, 8’5” (257cm), Ukraine, not officially recognized by Guinness because he refused to be measured according to their standards
- Vaino Myllyrinne, Finland, 8’3”, recognized as the tallest living person from 1940 to his death in 1963
Fun fact: the top 3 tallest men in the world didn’t live to their 40th birthday. Robert died at the age of 22, John Rogan at 37, and John F. Carroll at 37 as well.
Speaking for average height in the world, Dutch people are the world’s tallest. They have an average height of 5’7.96”, or 175.62cm. Dutch men are even taller, standing at 5’11.86” or 182cm tall.
We said before that Öndör suffered from gigantism. By definition, it is an accelerated growth during childhood from the production of excess growth hormone. By definition, it must occur during childhood before the growth plates in the long bones of the body have closed. In adults, the condition is called acromegaly.
The signs and symptoms of gigantism are tall stature, mild to moderate obesity, macrocephaly, headaches, visual changes, hypopituitarism, soft tissue hypertrophy, exaggerated growth of the hands and feet, with thick fingers and toes.
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