Gigantism is an extremely rare condition that’s likely existed since the creation of humanity. The earliest known confirmed case of the condition likely originated in ancient Egypt, where the skeleton of a giant believed to be an Egyptian pharaoh was discovered in 1901, per Live Science. The skeletal remains of Sanakht revealed that he was the length of someone who would’ve been 6 feet 1 inch tall. Today that height might sound normal, but in the pharaoh’s time, a six-foot height was reportedly an anomaly compared to the average height of his male peers.
Just two years after the remarkable discovery, historic photos were taken in India during the Durbar festival in Delhi in 1903. Many things were captured that day, including soldiers, spectators, and animals. But of all the images taken, several stood out for their depictions of two tall men who would become known as the Kashmir giants. In one particular photo, the pair towered over a shorter man who stood in between them, as seen in the above picture. The man in the middle was Professor James Ricalton, an American photographer who traveled the world in the late and early 19th and 20th centuries and was friends with the giants. Still, it’s not clear if the men had gigantism or if they were simply tall.
The height of the Kashmir giants
Who were these unnamed men that Ricalton was photographed with? According to Rare Historical Photos, the men were not only related, they were twin brothers. The towering pair worked as guardsmen for the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir — a ruler who governed the region. The twins, who were also skilled riflemen, appeared at the festival (pictured above) and were one of the many main attractions.
Initial reports of the men listed one twin as 7 feet 6 inches tall. But in actuality, one of the giants stood at 7 feet 4 inches tall, while the tallest one was 7 feet 9 inches tall. Some images show the men in various pictures photographed with Ricalton, other average-height people, and even midgets — probably to demonstrate the difference in height.
Even today, meeting someone who is 7 feet tall is very rare, though they do exist. And of course, there are professional basketball players who are one inch or two shy of being a seven-footer. But per Percentage Calculator, only 2,800 people in the world stand at 7 feet or more.
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