Sa-Nakht, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, may have been the oldest known human giant, an August study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology said. His mummified body was discovered in an Upper Egyptian tomb in 1901. Sa-Nakht lived around 2700 B.C.
Researchers from the University of Zurich reported Sa-Nakht’s bones showed signs of “exuberant growth,” indicating “clear signs of gigantism.” Gigantism is a disorder that occurs when the body over produces growth hormones during childhood. A person’s hands and feet grow first, then the forehead, jaw and nose follow.
“The alleged Sa-Nakht probably had gigantism, truly being the oldest known palaeopathological case in the world. The fact that he was buried with honors in an elite mastaba-tomb, after reaching adulthood, suggests that gigantism at the time was probably not associated with social margination,” the introduction to the study reads. “While short people were much preferred in ancient Egypt, especially in the early dynastic period, we have no records that very tall people had any special social preference or disadvantage.”
— Live Science (@LiveScience) August 6, 2017
By studying Sa-Nakht’s bone remains, scientists determined he was just under 6 foot 2 inches when most men stood about 5 feet 6 inches. Upon another examination of the remains and photographs of the bones, researchers found Sa-Nakht may have had one of the first known cases of gigantism disorder. Based on the studies of the remains, the experts reached near certainty the person had gigantism.
“Studying the evolutionary development of diseases is of importance for today’s medicine,” Michael Habicht, a researcher from the University of Zurich, said.