Researchers discover 'giants' in 5,000-year-old graves in China

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Ricky Joseph

Giants are part of the oldest mythologies and still inspire curiosity in the public, albeit in a fictional way. Even though humans don't grow much beyond 2 meters tall, however, some populations are noticeably taller than the rest of the world.

In addition to 104 houses and 20 sacrificial graves, researchers found 205 tombstones belonging to the population of the city of Jiaojia, 5,000 years ago.

The curious thing is that a large part of the individuals buried there - mainly men - easily exceeded 1.8 meters in height. The tallest was 1.9 meters, and these estimates refer only to the measurement of the bones.

"That's just based on bone structure," expert Fang Hui tells China Daily . "If he were alive, his height would certainly be over six feet."


Although 1.9 meters do not seem to be measures worthy of giants in fact, we must remember that the average height in Europe, during the same period was around 1.67 meters. Even today the average height of men in the region is slightly higher than in the rest of China (1.75 meters against 1.72).

Archaeologists began excavating the settlement as recently as last year, discovering several bones and other archaeological relics. Most of these, moreover, date back between 4,500 and 5,000 years.

The excavation site, it should be noted, is in Shandong province, bordered by the Yellow Sea, to the west of South Korea.

Why have these giants grown so large relative to the rest of the population

The growth of mammals, and virtually any animal, is involved with genetic factors, first and foremost, but also with nutrition. It turns out that children who have more access to quality, more nutritious food tend to grow bigger, or at least have more developed bones.

Shandong Province. Image: OwenJeahon / Pixabay

With this in mind, experts suspect that the height of Jiaojia's giants is directly linked to the abundance of resources in the village. As excavations have shown, it is likely that the inhabitants there led quite comfortable and well-stocked lives by the standards of the time.

The houses, for example, had several rooms and many jade relics were present there. Moreover, it is believed that the region was a political, cultural and economic hub of Shandong province. All this wealth allowed access to better quality food and, consequently, greater growth (in stature) of the population.

In addition to the giants, archaeologists also discovered several broken vessels and even bones, probably shortly after the individuals died. According to the evidence, this damage may have happened due to power disputes between influential individuals in the society. Still, it is difficult to understand the whole situation and the team continues to collect data and artifacts in the village.

"Further studies and excavations in the area are of great value to our understanding of the origin of culture in eastern China," says Zhou Xiaobo, director of the provincial cultural heritage department.

With information from Smithsonian Magazine.

Ricky Joseph is a seeker of knowledge. He firmly believes that through understanding the world around us, we can work to better ourselves and our society as a whole. As such, he has made it his life's mission to learn as much as he can about the world and its inhabitants. Joseph has worked in many different fields, all with the aim of furthering his knowledge. He has been a teacher, a soldier, and a businessman - but his true passion lies in research. He currently works as a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company, where he is dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases that have long been considered incurable. Through diligence and hard work, Ricky Joseph has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacology and medicinal chemistry in the world. His name is known by scientists everywhere, and his work continues to improve the lives of millions.