Turkana Boy sparks row over Homo erectus height | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Turkana Boy sparks row over Homo erectus height

Studies differ on whether 8-year-old would have reached modern human stature

3:07pm, April 14, 2014

GETTING BIGGER, MAYBE  Scientists disagree about whether a Homo erectus boy from 1.5 million years ago, represented here by a cast of the child’s skull, had a modern, humanlike teenage growth spurt.

CALGARY, Alberta — A Stone Age boy stands at the center of a controversy over when members of the human evolutionary family first reached heights and weights comparable to those of modern human adults.

All that remains of the ancient, approximately 8-year-old Homo erectus boy today is his nearly complete roughly 1.5-million-year-old skeleton. Excavations in 1984 near Kenya’s Lake Turkana yielded the find, often called Turkana Boy. At the time of the skeleton’s excavation, little was known about adult sizes and growth patterns of H. erectus.

When he died, the child stood roughly 5 feet, 3 inches. A study from 1993 estimated that, had Turkana Boy lived, he would have grown to a height of 6 feet, 1 inch and weight of around 150 pounds. If the boy really was destined for such tallness, then H. erectus would have experienced an adolescent growth spurt on a par with modern humans. A transition to humanlike growth

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content