Fast Facts

  • At a meeting of the Physical Society of Vienna on December 4, 1894, a five-and-a-half-year-old girl was exhibited who weighed 250 pounds. She subsisted on a normal diet and was otherwise in good health. The only unusual feature of the girl’s physiology was that she never perspired.
  • The tallest man ever known was an American named Robert Wadlow. Born in Alton, Illinois, in 1918, Wadlow was 6 feet tall by the time he was 8 years old, and at 15 he was 7-foot-5. He reached a final height of 8-foot-11 (and a weight of 491 pounds) on his 21st birthday. Alton died the following year of an inflamed leg (caused by improperly fitted leg braces) and was buried in a coffin that measured slightly under 11 feet. Gigantism, the disorder Wadlow suffered from, does not, interestingly enough, attack the entire body. Usually it involves only the lower extremities, so that in most cases the head and trunk are of more or less normal size while the lower torso and legs attain extreme proportions.
  • In 1975, 27,522 people were injured in skateboarding accidents in the United States. Between 1974 and 1975, skateboarding moved from eighth to third on the list of the most dangerous sports in America.
  • According to the British Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents, women are two and a half times more likely to have an automobile accident when they are menstruating. According to researchers, reflex and sensory alertness are impaired during the monthly period, and spatial judgment may be altered.
  • Spiders do not eat their victims, they drink them. Able to take food only by sipping it in liquid form through their tube-like mouths, spiders first cover their victims with a special fluid that causes them to dissolve. They then suck up the dissolved tissue. It is by this means that a tarantula is able to ingest an entire small mouse, bones and all, in about a day and a half.