Whether it’s a national landmark seen with our own eyes for the first time or an animal seen only on TV, we’ve all been stunned by the sheer size of something. It’s almost impossible to size something up accurately without first seeing it in person—but these photos make it happen…
Using humans for scale, these 20 photos clear up any misconceptions about just how big some of the world’s animals, landmarks, and items of interest are. Because nothing helps the human eye understand the size of something quite like putting it next to a full-grown human.
1. Giant African Land Snail: Luckily, you won’t find one of these snails in your garden—and that’s a good thing, too. Experts rank the massive snail among the top 100 most invasive species on the planet.
2. The 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Comet: In 2004, the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta space probe to study this celestial object. The comet had a 1-mile radius; see it compared to the city of Los Angeles, below.
3. Blue Whale’s Heart: In nature, the massive five-foot heart model below pumps blood for the 300,000-pound sea mammal. The heart itself weighs about 400 pounds!
4. The Quetzalcoatlus northropi: Just how tall was the planet’s (now-extinct) largest flying mammal? See it modeled beside a 6-foot man, left. Imagine the sound that thing made when it took flight!
5. Photographer’s Equipment: Only a photographer would lay out all of his equipment, then set a timer on a second camera so he could take a picture with it all. Still, the shot perfectly captures just how much stuff a professional uses!
6. Saltwater Crocodile: In Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin, Australia, visitors pay $170 AUD to be submerged with a massive crocodile, left. Since the crocs are 17-feet tall and weigh up to 2,000 tons, plenty of people are happy to pass on that opportunity.
7. A Moose: Heavy males of the species can weigh upwards of 1,500 pounds and stand 7-feet tall at the shoulder. While its curves should be celebrated, an animal that huge could do some serious damage to your car!
8. The Great Pyramid of Giza: The legendary structure stands 455 feet tall—about the height of a 45-story building—but it’s the 756-foot base lengths that truly impress. You can hardly see the woman, left, amid all those stones!
9. Eagle Talons: Stories of Mongolian hunters training eagles to hunt foxes and wolves should come as no surprise after seeing the size of their talons! Capable of crushing down with 1,200 psi in each foot, these birds dole out damage.
10. Star Wars Models: Before CGI, George Lucas used small-scale models to create large-scale space battles. The movies depicted the Death Star as the size of a moon; the model was much smaller.
11. Wind Turbine Blade: Those devices convert wind to electrical energy using 135-foot blades. Despite looking like they’re barely moving, the blades spin at over 100 miles per hour.
12. The One Ring: Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson used this enormous prop ring for just one scene. By placing it in the foreground, cameras could keep the background characters and scenery somewhat in focus—it was a perspective trick.
13. The Great Garrison Flag: Preservationists at the American History Museum stood beside the giant flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. This flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
14. Humpback Whales: Luckily humpback whales feed on krill and small fish. With their 66,000-pound, 52-foot-long bodies, it’s a good thing they’re so friendly!
15. Tea Plantation: Endless rows of tea bushes dwarf humans at this plantation. Only one exists in the United States (located on Wadmalaw Island, North Carolina), and its bushes are descended from plants brought there in the 1700s.
16. Heidelberg Tun: In 1751, German royalty needed a place for their vast quantities of wine, so they built a 58,574-gallon wine barrel, using over 130 oak trees in the process. In recent years, a dance floor was built on top of it.
17. Tsar Bomba: This is the most powerful nuclear weapon ever built. On a dampened test, the bomb destroyed houses hundreds of miles away, burned people 62 miles away, and produced a 40-mile-high mushroom cloud.
18. The World’s Tallest Tree: Nicknamed The General Sherman (after Civil War general William Sherman), California’s giant sequoia tree towers over everything with a 275-foot height and a 36-foot base.
19. Azipods of a Cruise Ship: Enormous thrusters propel Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas—a 1,188-foot, 6,680-passenger cruise ship. Imagine how the fish feel when they see it coming!
20. A Traffic Light: You see one of these lights just about every day, but probably don’t realize how big they are when they’re strung up. Some special fixtures stand 7-feet high and weigh 220 pounds!
There’s nothing quite like a puny human to illustrate how huge something is! What other objects are way bigger than most people think?
Share these massive objects with your friends below!