The curious collection of a slightly mad scientist
Adam Rainer (1899 – 4 March 1950) is the only person in recorded history to have been both a dwarf and a giant.
Rainer was born in Graz, Austria-Hungary. In 1917, at age 18, he was measured at 122.55 cm (4 ft 0.25 in). A typical defining characteristic of dwarfism is an adult height below 147 cm (4 ft 10 in). Then, likely as a result of a pituitary tumor, he had a dramatic growth spurt so that by 1931 he had reached a height of 218 cm (7 ft 2 in). As a result of his gigantism he became bedridden for the rest of his life. When he died in 1950 he had reached a height of 234 cm (7 ft 8 in).
The possibilities of human biology, as we start to apply our new understanding of how things work, are exciting. We can’t turn back time, but I wonder what we might have done today for Mr. Rainer with hormone therapy or surgery.