On December 16th, Jyoti Amge celebrated her 18th birthday and made it into the Guinness World Records as the shortest living woman. She is just 62.8 cm or 24.7 in tall. From Nagpur, India, Jyoti beat out American Bridgette Jordan who stands at 69 cm (27.2 in). But the shortest living human is a man, Junrey Balawing of the Philippines, who is 59.9 cm (23.6 in) tall. And the shortest verified human who ever lived was Gul Mohammed of India (1957 – 1997), who stood at only 57 cm (22.4 in).
~ Guinness World Records
Jyoti Amge has a condition called Achondroplasia. It is a sporadic mutation (in 85% of the cases), but it can also be inherited. According to the Theory of Evolution, genetic variation is the building block of natural selection, which gives our world a variety of life forms. It is created when there is a mutation – a change in the chemical composition of the genes. Mild variations occur most of the time and dramatic variations occur infrequently – but statistically, they must occur to somebody. While dramatic mutations tend to be detrimental to the health of the person affected, sometimes it can be beneficial to the subject or to society.
~ World's oldest stockbroker.
One happy example is the world's oldest stockbroker, Irving Kahn, who turned 106 years old on December 19th. He is in great shape mentally and physically and still goes to work everyday to his high-stress job. Apparently, Irving and his siblings (who are also centenarians) possess a mutation in a gene that increases their good cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing their bad cholesterol (LDL); this and other genetic factors help to protect them from heart disease, Alzheimer's, and other age-related illnesses. Irving is involved in a study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Institute for Aging Research. However, Irving is still a kid in the world of longevity. The oldest living human is Besse Cooper of the U.S. at 115 years old. And the oldest verified human who ever lived was Jeanne Calment of France at 122 years of age (1875 – 1997). Still, research into Mr. Kahn's mutation may shine some light on the Fountain of Youth to benefit mankind.
~ The Fountain of Youth? (taped in 2009)
But the most interesting is the curious case of Brooke Greenberg. She will be 19 years old on January 8th, 2012. But she hasn’t changed since she was a toddler. To this day, she is approximately 76 cm (30 in) tall and weighs around 16 pounds. Also, she has the mental capacity of a toddler. However, unlike in the case of Jyoti Amge, Brooke does not have Achondroplasia and her doctors couldn't find anything wrong with her. Her condition is called Syndrome X. One fascinating question which boggles the Frog Blog is that if Brooke's condition persists, does that mean she will never die?
Are Humans Mutants?
Regardless, genetic mutation might have given rise to the human species. The MYH16 gene encodes the protein myosin, which regulates the powerful jaw muscles in non-human primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas. But a mutation of the MYH16 gene in early humans had caused the myosin protein to not function properly, giving early humans weak jaw muscles.
~ The relationship between mutation, jaw size, and brain size.
A controversial theory claims that because of the reduced pressure from the weaker jaw muscles of humans, the plates in our skulls are not forced to firm up as quickly as for other primates after birth, thereby allowing our brains to grow for a longer period – increasing in size. Also, did these weak jaw muscles force early humans to use certain tools, such as fire with which to cook their food, and stones and clubs with which to kill their prey and competitors? Click here.
UPDATE: Diet And Exercise Keep You Young!
(July 22, 2013) While the Fountain of Youth may be due to genetics and mutations, that does not mean it is out of reach for the rest of us. Science seems to be showing us that diet and exercise (especially resistance training) might help us all turn back the aging clock. Learn about the amazing story of 60-year-old Wendy Ida and 70-year-old Anette Larkins.
~ Wendy Ida on the Jeff Probst Show (Sept. 2012).
~ Ageless woman Anette Larkins.
UPDATE: Lion/Tiger Hybrid Breaks Guinness Record
(September 18, 2013) Read our latest update about animals that break world records, click here.
UPDATE: Bigfoot Caught On Tape; DNA Collected
(October 3, 2013) Read out latest update on Bigfoot, click here.
UPDATE: There Is No Gay Gene!
(January 4, 2014) Read our latest article on the science of homosexuality, click here.
UPDATE: Irving Kahn Dies At 109
(February 26, 2015) R.I.P. Irving Kahn (December 19, 1905 – February 24, 2015) click here.
For related articles in the Frog Blog:
- There Is No Gay Gene! Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For $1.7 Million! Click here.
- World's Oldest Man Breaks Records Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For A Record $736,000 Click here.