Size does matter. For a vast part of Earth’s history, making it big has always been the natural end game. Giant insects of the carboniferous dominated the oxygen-abundant skies of early Earth. Dinosaurs walked on Earth’s biggest landmass, Pangea. Empires of humans eventually stretched to ends of the known continents. Today, being big is still the gig, and here are the top 10 biggest things on Earth.
Number 10: The Biggest Human on Earth
Robert Pershing Wadlow might not be as big as the fabled Cyclops of Greek mythology, but he sure came very close to one. At his tallest, he was almost 9 feet, or 2.7 meters tall, compared to the already above average height of his own father Harold Wadlow, who was 5 feet, 11.5 inches tall.
Robert was able to grow this big due to a medical condition known as gigantism. This happens when the pituitary gland grows to an abnormally large size, leading to an increased and continued production of human growth hormones even well into the afflicted person’s adulthood.
Can you even imagine wearing a shoe this big just to support your own gangly height?
Sadly, due to this very condition, Robert Wadlow was only able to live a very short life. Despite intensive medical treatment, a subsequent infection due to his blistered ankle eventually caused his death on July 15, 1940, after only living for 22 years.
Number 09: The Biggest Powered Aircraft Ever Flown
During the Cold War era, aviation engineers from the Soviet Union designed and built the Antonov An-225, also known as the Mriya. Today it’s considered as the largest winged aircraft ever built, separate from the peculiar-looking Airlander 10, which as an airship would technically be the largest flying vehicle ever.
The Antonov An-225 has a length of 84 meters, wingspan of 88.4 meters, and height of 18.1 meters. At maximum capacity, including its fuel and own weight, it can carry up to 640,000 kilograms.
By comparison, the most iconic American commercial aviation workhorse, the Boeing 747, has a maximum length of 76 meters, general wingspan of 68 meters, and a height of 19 meters. It has a maximum take-off weight of 447,700 kilograms.
This giant aircraft was first built in 1985 and flew in 1988, with the original intent of using it as the main transport vehicle for the Buran spaceplane.
When the Buran space program was scrapped, it was then repurposed as a heavy cargo transport plane, and continues to do so in today’s post-Cold War era Russia.
Number 8: The Biggest Mall in the World
In terms of gross leasable area, the record of the largest and widest mall in the world goes to the New South China Mall. At 6.46 million square feet or 600,153 square meters, it kicks another gigantic mall in China, the 6.0 million square feet Golden Resources Mall, out of the top list.
To give you a perspective on just how big 6.46 million square feet is, the Vatican City, an official country in its own right, can fit snugly with vast areas to spare right inside the mall with its smaller 4.7 million square feet of land.
It’s literally a mall that’s bigger than an entire country.
The catch is that while it has been open since 2005, it never really became the bustling mega shopping center that it was designed to be. It currently has very few occupants, with 99% of the rentable stalls completely empty. This means that the New South China Mall is also officially the biggest still-operational ghost mall in the world.
Number 7: The Biggest Swimming Pool in the World
Chile was home to the largest outdoor swimming pool by San Alfonso del mar resort, up until 2015. And it’s no surprise, because of the Humboldt current, which brings in cold sub-arctic surface water northward. This pool is a great way to take a swim without literally getting chilly in Chile.
It’s over a kilometer long, covering an area of 81,000 square meters with a depth of 35 meters. That’s equivalent to more than 20 Olympic size swimming pools.
Because of its immense size, it’s basically impossible to fill the pool or maintain it using traditional methods. Instead, it sucks water from the sea beside it using a specially designed filtration system, pumping it out into the pool ready for public use.
Annoyingly, you can’t swim its length, but instead you’ll find people kayaking or boating on it, with only a few sections, like that pyramid, being open for swimmers.
Egypt’s Crystal Lagoon is officially the largest crystalline lagoon, at around 98,000 square-meters in area. However its essentially an artificial beach by design, unlike the sealed and enclosed platforms of San Alfonzo del mar. Citystars Sharm el Sheikh, its developer, says it get its salt water supply from wells in the middle of the desert that are otherwise useless, allowing for a tropical crystalline lagoon in the desert.
Number 6: The Biggest Infant on Earth
On January 18, 1979, a baby was born in Seville Ohio, who would eventually become the biggest infant ever born on Earth. Human infants on average are born with a height of 0.5 meters, and a weight of 2.5 to 5 kilograms. This male baby, however, had a height and weight of 0.7 meters and 10 kilograms respectively, essentially two times heavier than average.
This giant baby’s mother was none other than Anna Bates, the famed Canadian giantess. She herself had an impressive height of 7 feet and 11 inches, or 2.4 meters. Her child was the second one to be born, with the first one born in 1872.
As impressive as the size of this infant was, he never made it past his infancy. Only 11 hours after he was born, he died after succumbing to unknown complications. While this baby holds the tallest new-born infant record to date, the record of the heaviest birth eventually went to an Italian boy in 1955, who had an official recorded weight of 10.2 kilograms.
Number 5: The Biggest Mountain on this Planet
Mount Everest, ‘nuff said.
But seriously, even though the answer is obvious, this Himalayan mountain peak will still be holding the record as the highest mountain on planet Earth, at least for a couple more million years.
Official records puts its highest point at 8,848 meters, which makes for not just a challenging mountain to trek, but also a potentially dangerous and deadly one as well. The trail to the summit is right now literally scattered with the remains of those who never made it back alive. Current trekkers are unable to retrieve the bodies as well due to the effort and logistics required. With the thin atmosphere on top, no helicopter can reach them to provide assistance.
The spectacular summit of Mount Everest was formed approximately 60 million years ago, when the fast drifting India tectonic plate crashed northwards into the Euro Asia plate. The ends of the two plates were pushed upwards with such slow, gradual force, that it went as high as it is today.
Number 4: The Biggest Motorcycle Ever Built
The Reggio Design XXL Chopper is currently the largest mountable motorcycle in the world. It has a length of 9.7 meters long, and draws power from a 5000cc, 5.7-liter V8 Chevrolet engine with a power of 280 Horsepower.
Fabio Reggiani introduced this monster of a bike at the Motorbike Expo in 2012. It officially broke the record previously held by the Monster Cycle, a 6-meter long, 1.35 ton beast bike built by Gregory Dunham.
You still probably can’t figure out how monstrous these bikes really are. Think about heavier cruiser motorcycles and they have a typical length of about 2.5 meters. So, you can imagine that both of these bikes are several times larger and heavier.
Rated at about 280 Horse power, the Reggio Design XXL Chopper can run with its tractor wheels at a top speed of 65 miles, or 104 kilometers, per hour. Fabio’s design team, comprised of 25 members, and it took seven months to construct the bike from scratch.
Number 3: The Largest Living Terrestrial Animal
It’s no surprise that the Blue Whale takes the cake as the biggest living animal that ever existed on the planet. But on land, the largest title goes to the African Bush Elephant.
An average adult male African Bush Elephant has an average height of 3.2 meters, and a weight of 6 tonnes. One of the largest ones grew to 4 meters and weighed 10 tonnes. It was first seen and recorded in a photograph in 1974. Compare that to your average (Toyota) Corolla, which can probably be easily squished by one of these elephants with their relatively light 1.3-tonne body weight.
African Bush Elephants primarily live in plains and grasslands. They are available in a wide variety of African terrain too, such as woodlands, mountain slopes, and semi-arid deserts. Due to their great size, they have no natural predators. However, humans have consistently hunted and poached them for their prized tusks.
Number 2: The Largest Land Vehicle
Bagger might sound like a boring occupation, but it is actually the name of a series of colossal bucket-wheel excavators that are commonly known as the largest drivable machines ever built.
Perhaps the most famous is the Bagger 288. It is a 135,000-ton metal behemoth previously used at the Hambackstrip mine in Germany. It had been in operation since 1978, capable of excavating 240,000 tons of coal every single day.
Some decades later, this version was eventually superseded by Bagger 293, which has an increased weight of 142,000 tons, passing on the current record to it. It was built in 1995, and is now used in the same location where Bagger 288 was previously used.
It’s worth mentioning that Bagger excavators hold the record as a vehicle without its own drive system. In other words, it relies on an external power source to move. For self-propelled vehicles, the title still goes to none other than NASA’s Space Shuttle and Saturn V-toting Crawler-transporter.
Number 1: The Largest Tree Stump Ever Known
On July 31 2017, a viral news article stated that members of the Wyoming State Parks Department had discovered a vast network of tree roots at the base of the Devil’s Tower. This was doubled down by similar news stories published that very same month that an ancient petrified tree trunk about the size of an entire mesa was discovered in Tunisia.
At the time, these two botanical size records would have forever changed the history of life on our planet. There was however, one very big caveat with these two announcements: both of them were hoaxes. In the end, the Devil’s Tower wasn’t the remains of an ancient tree. Also, there were no gigantic world trees on prehistoric Tunisian soil.
Despite it looking almost like a tree stump, scientists identified it as an eroded remnant of a laccolith. In geology, A laccolith is a sheet intrusion injected between two layers of sedimentary rock.
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However, enormous tree stumps do exist. At Kokomo, Indiana, lies the remains of an old tree, a very huge hollow stump that was measured with a circumference of 17.4 meters, 5.5 meters in width, and 3.6 in height.
According to older newspapers at the time of its discovery, scientists estimated the tree to be around 1,500 years old, at least twice the approximate age of Hyperion, the current largest living tree.
Now, without referring to male body parts, are there other bigger things that you think should have been in this list? Also, If you’re craving for more incredibly big things, check out our list for the biggest man-made structures made right over here.
Till next time – Thanks for reading!
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