|Can someone be as small as 1 inch?
|Question Date: 2005-07-25|
That's a fun question! Can someone be as small as
one inch? I can tell you that people are smallest
when they are tiny little babies inside their
mom's. They can be smaller than one inch. But
after they are born, they are always longer than 1
inch. The smallest baby born was about 12 inches
long. The smallest grown-up (or adult) is about
22 inches long. No person has ever been as small
as one inch.
Evelyn, do you know what
mammals are? You can read about mammals in the
library. Mammals are animals that have hair, are
warm-blooded, and give birth to their babies.
Human beings are mammals, and so are mice,
elephants, cows and horses, bats and cats. The
smallest mammal is called a bumblebee bat. This
tiny little bat is three inches long. Even this
bat is still longer than one inch. I hope that
answers your question! Who's the smallest person
you've ever met?
What do you think about a 1-inch 'someone'?There
is a lot of interesting science about why we are
the size we are. For example, if insects were as
tall as we are, their skinny legs would break. We
have strong stiff bones inside our bodies, but
insects have the strong stiff parts on the
outsides of their bodies. This is not a good way
to make strong big things.
Do you know
anyone who is even as short as a foot tall? Ask
your friends and parents and teachers about this,
and see what they say.
I saw the smallest
mammal in a museum in London. It was some animal
such as a shrew. There was a British school boy
about your age looking at it, too, and he said,
"It's ONLY roughly half an inch LONG!"
All animals carry instructions in their genes that
control the way we grow and develop into humans
(if you haven't learned about genes yet, you can
probably ask your teacher about them). All
animals start out as just a small group of cells
that don't look very different from one another.
It's the set of genetic instructions each animal
carries that cause that group of cells to turn
into a human, or a frog, or a fish. The
instructions for some of the fish that I study
cause them to grow into small bodies that are only
a few inches long. But the instructions that you
and I carry cause us to develop much bigger
bodies. Sometimes there are small mistakes in the
instructions and humans develop bodies that are
slightly different from usual -- this is what
happens to dwarfs and midgets. Often people who
develop these unusually small bodies have health
problems, because the human body is designed to be
full size, not small size. So the kind of really
huge changes in the genetic instructions that
would be needed to make someone as small as one
inch would almost certainly mess up so many other
things that the person would not survive. I think
the smallest person who ever lived was somewhere
between two and three feet tall.
No human that you will ever meet can ever be as
small as 1 inch. All humans go through a stage
where they are that small while in their mothers'
wombs. At about 2 months, human embryos are about
an inch long. We don't stay that size for very
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