How Convenient Is It to Know the World’s Tallest Person?

Standing 7 feet 9 inches tall, Bao Xishun was recognized in 2005 by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest man. The 55-year-old herdsman from Inner Mongolia made further headlines the following year when he single-handedly saved two dolphins at an aquarium in Fushun, China.

The long arms of Bao Xishun, formerly the world's tallest man, came in handy for removing plastic that a pair of dolphins had swallowed.
The long arms of Bao Xishun, formerly the world's tallest man, came in handy for removing plastic that a pair of dolphins had swallowed.

As the story goes, the dolphins got sick after eating pieces of plastic from the edge of their pool. Veterinarians tried to remove the plastic from their stomachs with the use of surgical instruments, but the shape of the dolphins' stomachs made it difficult for the instruments to be inserted very far.

Aquarium officials summoned Bao, a minor celebrity in China, thinking his nearly 42-inch-long arms might delicately reach into the dolphins’ stomachs and extract the plastic. Bao agreed to try and was successful at removing the plastic by hand. Both dolphins made a full recovery.

Being the world's tallest man (for a while):

  • The dolphins had lost their appetites and were suffering from depression, officials said. Towels were wrapped around their teeth so Bao wouldn’t be bitten during the rescue.

  • Bao says he his height was normal until he was 16, when a phenomenal growth spurt began. In 2010, he appeared in an episode of the reality TV show The Amazing Race as a “Pit Stop” greeter.

  • In 2009, Bao lost his title as the tallest living man to Sultan Kosen, a Turkish farmer who stands at 8 feet 2.82 inches. Kosen’s incredible growth was caused by a tumor that affected his pituitary gland.

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