Size Matters episode 1: Hannah Fry takes a spectacular look at the science of size by imagining a parallel world in which everything is made bigger or smaller.
This two-part special presented by Hannah Fry shows that when it comes to the universe, size really does matter. Hannah takes the audience into a thought experiment where the size of everything can be changed to reveal why things are the size they are.
Hannah starts her journey by asking whether everything could be bigger, finding out what life would be like on a bigger planet. As the Earth grows to outlandish proportions, gravity is the biggest challenge, and lying down becomes the new standing up. Flying in a Typhoon fighter jet with RAF flight lieutenant Mark Long, the programme discovers how higher G-force affects the human body, and how people could adapt to a high G-force world. But by the time Earth gets to the size of Jupiter, it’s all over, as the moon would impact the planet and end life as we know it.
Next, Hannah tries to make living things bigger. The programme examines the gigantopithecus, the biggest ape to ever exist, creates a dog the size of a dinosaur and meets Sultan Kosen, the world’s tallest man. Humans are then super-sized with the help of Professor Dean Falk to see what a human body would look like if we were 15m tall.
The sun gets expanded, and Professor Volker Bromm looks back in time to find the largest stars that ever existed, before the sun explodes in perhaps the biggest explosion since the big bang.
Size Matters episode 1
Gigantopithecus is an extinct genus of ape from the Early to Middle Pleistocene of southern China, represented by one species, Gigantopithecus blacki. Potential identifications have also been made in Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The first remains of Gigantopithecus, two third molar teeth, were identified in a drugstore by anthropologist Ralph von Koenigswald in 1935, who subsequently described the ape.
In 1956, the first mandible and over 1,000 teeth were found in Liucheng, and numerous more remains have since been found in at least 16 sites. Only teeth and four mandibles are known currently, and other skeletal elements were likely consumed by porcupines before they could fossilise. Gigantopithecus was once argued to be a hominin, a member of the human line, but it is now thought to be closely allied with orangutans, classified in the subfamily Ponginae.