Dwarfism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Dwarf Don Sebastián de Morra, by Velázquez.

Dwarfism is used to describe a person of short stature, less than 4 feet, 10 inches (147 cm). This is often, though not always, because of a medical condition. People with this condition are called dwarves or little people. A similar term for short people is midget; however, dwarves and midgets are not the same. Midgets are perfectly proportioned humans, while dwarves have a large head and misshapen limbs and torsos.

Dwarfism is often caused by the person inheriting an allele (a mutant gene), which produces a defect in development. Defects caused by genetics are the main kind of congenital defects, and usually cannot be cured. The most common cause of dwarfism is a defect in bone development called achondroplasia, in which the limbs are short in proportion to the body. This accounts for 70% of cases. Extreme shortness, but with body parts of normal proportions, may be caused by growth hormone deficiency, once known as pituitary dwarfism.[1] There are more than 200 other conditions which may cause dwarfism.[2]

Rossow Midgets, circus poster, 1897

In the 19th century in the United States, people with dwarfism were a major attraction of many circus sideshows. The most famous little people in the history of the American circus are General Tom Thumb and Michu.[3]

Related pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. Kennedy, Dan. "P.O.V. – Big Enough. What is Dwarfism?". Public Broadcasting Service. http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/bigenough/special_dwarfism_ety.html. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  2. "MedlinePlus: Dwarfism". MedlinePlus. National Institute of Health. 2008-08-04. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dwarfism.html. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  3. Ogden, Tom. 1993. The American Circus. Facts on File. p. 237.

Other websites[change | edit source]

Media related to Dwarfism at Wikimedia Commons