In 1991, in an excavation at a necropolis in Fidenae, an unusual grave was found. Archaeologists puzzled why the grave was so much larger than the others. In an age where the average man reached 5’6” in height, the 6’8” giant that they uncovered was a first of its kind.
National Geographic explained why the find was special:
“Finding such skeletons is rare, because gigantism itself is extremely rare, today affecting about three people in a million worldwide. The condition begins in childhood, when a malfunctioning pituitary gland causes abnormal growth.”
The team examined the skeleton and found evidence of skull damage consistent with a pituitary tumor (gigantism is caused by the pituitary gland overproducing human growth hormone). The man’s early death, they estimate he died between 16 and 20 years of age, also suggest the man suffered from gigantism.