Could This Egyptian Pharaoh Have Had the Oldest Case of Acromegaly?

Sa-Nakht was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who lived circa 2700 B.C. While there are many tall tales surrounding his reign, one that is especially tall, literally, and not figuratively, is that this great ruler may have had the first recorded case of acromegaly.

A recent study conducted by Michael E. Habicht and his colleagues from the University of Zurich found evidence of “exuberant growth” in the remains of Sa-Nakht, which is one of the characteristic features of acromegaly.

Acromegaly is a rare disease that occurs if the body produces an excessive amount of growth hormone, which is why the condition is sometimes known as gigantism. To learn more about acromegaly, click here.
Even though Sa-Nakht’s remains suggest that in current times, he would only be just over six feet tall, when he lived, the majority of ancient Egyptian men only stood at about five and a half feet. Interestingly, smaller-than-average men, or dwarves, were held in very high regard. Pharaohs during this time, on the other hand, did tend to be of a taller height than the rest of their comtemporaries, but this can largely be attributed to better access nutritious food and healthcare.
Despite this fact, Sa-Nakht was still a good five inches taller than any other recorded pharaoh in history (even Ramesses II), which definitely points to something out-of-the-ordinary.

There is no way to know for sure if Sa-Nakht actually had this rare disease, and Egyptologists today do not know very much about him.

But even so, Habicht’s research strongly indicates that acromegaly may have actually originated over 4,000 years ago.
To learn more about this fascinating hypothesis, click here!

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