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Can someone be as small as 1 inch?
Question Date: 2005-07-25
Answer 1:

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?

Answer 2:

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!"

Answer 3:

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.

Answer 4:

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 long, though!

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